Explore more this Springtime in Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark

IMage: Old Man's Head, Lough Navar Forest

Published: 16th March 2016

Image: Old Man’s Head, Lough Navar Forest

As the Spring season gets underway, people are invited to get into the great outdoors and explore the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark – Northern Ireland’s second only UNESCO supported location.

Spanning from the northern shores of Lower Lough Erne in County Fermanagh to Lough Oughter in County Cavan, the 20,000 hectare Global Geopark offers a rich collection of marked walking and cycling trails of varying difficulty levels.

The walking and cycling trails provide people with the opportunity to explore some of the world’s most spectacular and geologically significant landscapes which are home to a vast array of natural habitats and species, historic relics, prehistoric tombs, Iron Age Forts, early Christian monasteries, Plantation Castles, and much more.

Encouraging people to get outdoors in the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark this Spring, Richard Watson, Global Geopark Manager, said:

“Walking in the Springtime can be a safe, enjoyable and rewarding experience if people dress correctly and are prepared for the weather by bringing a warm drink or snack and letting someone know where they are going.

At this time of year the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark can be quite magical with the blossoming of flora and increased animal activity. Whether people are looking for somewhere to go for a family day out or for somewhere pleasant to walk after the long winter, the Geopark has something for everybody.

Cavan Burren Park has a variety of walking trails including an accessible multi-access path while the Tully Castle trail winds along the shore of Lough Erne.

For something more physically demanding, there are the Cuilcagh Mountain Park trail and the mountain bike trail at Castle Archdale Forest.”

Other recommended walks within the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark to try out this Spring include:

Aghanaglack walk, Ballintempo Forest – located approximately 5 miles from Belcoo. Follow the road to Boho. Take a right turn, then a left turn, following the sign for Aghanaglack. The main feature of this walk is an Aghanaglack dual court tomb, thought to have been constructed 4,000-6,000 years ago.  This is a moderate / difficult circular walk, 7.5 miles.

Pollnagollum Cave Walk, Belmore Forest – Pass Aghanaglack (as above) and take a right turn before the village of Boho. Pollnagollum Cave featured in the television series, Game of Thrones. A viewing platform provides a vantage point into the impressive cave entrance, which is fed by a beautifully cascading waterfall down a 12 metre limestone cliff. This is a moderate circular walk, 4.3 miles.

Big Dog Forest – located between the Cashel crossroads – Garrison to Belcoo road – and Derrygonnelly. If travelling from Enniskillen, take a left at the church in Derrygonnelly village.  Big Dog Forest is located approximately 7.5 miles down this road on the right hand side.  The forest has two small hills that dominate the skyline known as Little Dog and Big Dog. According to folklore, the hills are named after the two wolf hounds Bran and Skeolan who were owned by the mythical giant Finn McCool. The 2.5 mile moderate walk is a linear route with a circular loop.

Carrigan Forest – travelling the same road as to Big Dog Forest, the entrance to Carrigan Forest is on the left hand side. The entire walk is along a forest track.  The most intriguing feature of the walk is Lough Formal. Sitting 240 metres above sea level, this small mountain lake sits astride a fault or crack in the Earth’s crust.  It is a moderate, circular walk, 5.5 miles.

Castle Caldwell Forest – located approximately 7 miles outside Belleek in the direction of Boa Island.  The castle itself was abandoned in the 1900s. If local ghost stories are to be believed the ruins are still haunted by a local fiddler who drowned after falling off the Caldwell family barge. There are 3 walks at this location ranging from easy to moderate, the longest has a distance of 2.5 miles.

Ely Lodge Forest – within easy reach of Enniskillen town, approximately 6 miles in the direction of Belleek on the right hand side of the Lough Shore Road. The walk offers spectacular views of Lower Lough Erne, one of the largest fresh water lakes in the UK and Ireland.  Lower Lough Erne was formed following the last ice age when enormous ice sheets scraped out huge u-shaped valleys which then became flooded with melt water to form the lake.  There are two easy circular walks at this location, Carrickreagh Viewpoint Walk, 1.6 miles and Loughshore walk, 1.4 miles.

Lough Navar Forest – located along the scenic forest drive between Derrygonnelly and Belleek / Garrison.  If travelling from Enniskillen, drive straight through Derrygonnelly. After approximately 3 miles, take a left turn. Follow this road for approximately 4.5 miles.  Lough Navar Forest is on the right hand side.

Lough Navar Forest contains two moderate to difficult walks, Blackslee Waterfall Walk, 4 miles and Three Loughs Walk, 2.5 miles. The Blackslee Waterfall is a highlight on the first walk where water cascades over a 20 metre cliff before continuing its journey down an undercut rocky gorge.  Along the Three Loughs Walk look out for the “Old Man’s Head”, a sandstone scarp which resembles the profile of an elderly gentleman.

For further information on walking trails, attractions, activities and itineraries for the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, visit www.marblearchcavesgeopark.com or telephone 028 6634 8855.

 

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