Castlewellan Forest Park

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

 

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. 

Way-marked trails for walking, cycling and horse riding in the forest are operated by Newry Mourne & Down District Council under agreement with Forest Service. 

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

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:

Activities

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

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

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

Camping and caravanning

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

Charges and bookings

For caravanning and camping charges, visit the following page:

For bookings, contact the forest ranger at Castlewellan Forest Park.

Before you make a booking, understand the camping and caravanning terms and conditions as they set out the agreement between you and Forest Service to use their services.  To view the terms, follow the link below:  

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 & 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.

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