Castlewellan Forest Park

Castlewellan Forest Park covers 450 hectares of land lying north of the Mourne Mountains. Outdoor activities include camping and touring, walking, cycling, horse riding, fishing on the lake, canoeing and orienteering.

 

Camping and touring online booking

If you’d like to camp in a tent at Castlewellan Forest Park in Northern Ireland or stay there in a caravan, motorhome, campervan, folding caravan or trailer tent – you can book online or check availability and costs via the link below:

Activities

Castlewellan Forest Park caters for many outdoor activities including caravanning and camping, walking, mountain biking or leisure cycling, horse riding, fishing on the lake (rod licence and fishing permit required),  orienteering and canoeing. 

A privately operated outdoor recreation center is located at the Grange Yard where mountain bikes, e-bikes and canoes can be hired.  The Grange Coffee House is also located here and opens daily from 1 May to 30 September and at weekends 1 April to mid-November.

Visitor facilities include the Annesley Garden and Arboretum and the Peace Maze.

Organised events for cycling, running, orienteering, horse riding at Castlewellan Forest Park must have approval from the Newry Mourne and Down District Council before the event.

Anyone offering guidance or coaching sessions in this forest must also get approval ahead of time:
Email: barbara.fleming@nmandd.org
Phone: 0300 013 2233 

Camping and touring

Castlewellan Forest Park camping and touring site is open from Friday 15 March, until Thursday 31 October 2019.

All touring vehicle pitches on the main site are tarmac surfaced with electric hookup points, on-site parking for residents and most have a nearby grassed area suitable for awnings. There are separate male and female showers (with wheelchair access), washing and toilet facilities are close by, plus fresh water, a dishwashing room and chemical toilet disposal point.

Note that tents cannot be booked onto the main site and do not have access to electric hookup points.

More tarmac surfaced pitches with electric hookups are located in the nearby Dove Cote Yard.  Some visitors may prefer this site as it is mostly enclosed by a wall and the vehicle access gate can be closed over at night; however, as there is no grass between these pitches it is not possible to erect awnings. 

Next to the main touring site is an all grass site that can accommodate a mixture of tents or touring vehicles.  There are no electric hookups available on this site, but camping site residents have access to the same toilet and shower facilities as those staying on the main site.

The nearby town of Castlewellan is less than 10 minutes walking time from the site and has a supermarket, food stores, petrol retail outlets and other commercial premises including bars, laundry, restaurant, hairdressing, banking and post office facilities.

Horse riding 

There are way-marked horse riding trails within Castlewellan Forest Park under the management of  Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.  

There is no charge for casual use of the trails by individual riders however vehicle access charges apply at Castlewellan Forest Park.

Horse riding trails managed by Forest Service are also available in Tollymore Forest Park.

Trails

There are several way-marked walking trails at Castlewellan Forest Park offering scenic views of the lake and the surrounding countryside.  All trails are operated by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council. 

Further information about walking trails can be found on the WalkNI website.

Castlewellan Arboretum and Annesley Garden

The walled Annesley Garden, dating from 1740, provides a central focal point for the National Arboretum. This magnificent collection of trees and shrubs, set in beautiful surroundings, also incorporates fountains, ponds, ornamental greenhouses and broad sweeping vistas.

In terms of size, age and condition of the trees, this collection ranks among the top three arboretum the British Isles and the finest in Ireland. It includes:

  • 20 oldest existing specimens in the British Isles
  • 42 ‘champion’ trees of the British Isles
  • 50 ‘champion’ trees of Ireland

Access is via Castlewellan Forest Park (forest recreation charges) and it is open every day from 10.00 am to sunset.

How to get there

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

Visitor safety and biosecurity

Visitors should pay attention to health and safety signs which may be in place during forestry operations. Other signage has been provided about biosecurity measures which are needed to help prevent the spread of tree or plant disease.

For more information on preventing the spread of tree disease , go to:

About the forest

The extensive area of woodland in this forest park is managed as a commercial forest together with other woodlands in the Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

One of the most attractive features of the woodlands at Castlewellan is the wide variety of tree species, both coniferous and broadleaved, with a rich and vibrant display of autumn colours. 

The forest car park and visitor toilets, all caravan and camping sites and Castlewellan Arboretum and Annesley Garden are managed directly by Forest Service.

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