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Castlewellan Forest Park

Castlewellan Forest Park covers 450 hectares of land lying north of the Mourne Mountains.

Tree disease at Castlewellan Forest Park

An outbreak of a tree disease in larch, caused by a fungal pathogen (Phytophthora ramorum), has been confirmed at Castlewellan Forest Park. The forest remains open to the public. Approximately 100 hectares of affected trees will be removed to help prevent the spread of the disease.

During this work there will be some restricted access to certain areas and paths. Visitors must observe all health and safety signs and other signage placed in the forest.

Before visiting the forest, you should be familiar with biosecurity guidelines which help prevent spreading this disease.

Annesley Gardens reopen

Following essential ground maintenance works, the upper Annesley Gardens reopened in August 2013.

However the glasshouses and top terrace remain closed until all building reconstruction work has been completed.

Activities

Castlewellan Forest Park caters for many outdoor activities including walking, caravanning and camping, horse riding and orienteering.

Special events can be arranged by permit. Guided walks are also available on application.

Such activities may include sporting events or educational visits.

To arrange a special event or activity in this forest, you should contact the recreation manager in the forest.

Please adhere to safety signage which will is posted for your safety.

Camping and caravanning

The main stay site offers extensive facilities, on tarmac and grass pitches, for the caravan or camping enthusiast. There are toilets and showers, some of which are wheelchair accessible; a fresh water supply; chemical toilet disposal point and electricity hook up for caravans.

Caravanning and camping charges

For caravanning and camping charges at Castlewellan Forest Park, see 'Forest recreation charges'.

Preventing the spread of tree disease

A plant disease, Phytophthora lateralis, that affects Lawson cypress trees has been diagnosed in Castlewellan Forest. Forest visitors should observe signage and remain on the way marked paths.

Bookings

To book, contact:

  • The Forest Ranger
    Castlewellan Forest Park
    Castlewellan
    BT31 9BU
  • telephone: +44 28 4377 8664

Trails

Lake Path and Leisure Cycling (blue trail - two and a half miles)

This path circumnavigates Castlewellan Lake providing good views of Slievenaslaat and Castlewellan Castle. Points of interest along this path are the Ice House, various sculpted features and the Autumn Wood. The Leisure cycling route follows this path.

Cypress Pond Trail (red trail - three and three quarter miles)

The initial part of the trail follows the former stagecoach route known locally as the Crow Road where striking views of the northern Mourne Mountains can be glimpsed before reaching Castlewellan Lake.

There are delightful lake views heading to the Cypress Pond and the National Arboretum where a visit to the Annesley Garden is worthwhile. The return route to the car park offers expansive views of the lake, castle and the historic open parkland.

Slievenaslaat Trail (black trail - five miles )

Leading off the blue path the black trail enters the mainly coniferous plantation where remnants of the Moorish Tower can be viewed. There are openings in the forest with impressive views of the farmland on and around Slievenaboley, Legananny Mountains and Slieve Croob.

Further east there are vistas where the lake can be viewed as the trail reaches its highest point by Slievenaslaat and the Mountain Lake. The return trail passes by the Winter and Annesley Gardens, open parkland, the lake and castle.

Parts of these trails are used for horse riding.

Shorter informal walks are possible around the garden area of the park.

About the forest

The extensive area of woodland in this forest park is managed as a commercial forest together with other plantations in the area.

The variety of tree species is one of the most attractive features of the woodlands at Castlewellan.

How to get there

From Castlewellan, the forest park is signposted from Main Street.

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