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.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council have assumed development and management responsibility for recreation in Castlewellan Forest Park. This includes the management of camping and caravanning at the park.
Enquiries should be made to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council by:
- phone: 0330 137 4046
Camping and caravan bookings can be made online via the Visit Mourne tourism website.
Castlewellan Forest Park offers extensive facilities on tarmac and grass pitches for touring 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 touring vehicles.
There are also many outdoor activities like walking, cycling, horse riding, fishing on the lake and orienteering.
Castlewellan Forest Park offers outdoor activities including caravanning and camping, walking, mountain biking or leisure cycling and horse riding. There is also fishing on the lake (rod licence and fishing permit needed) orienteering and canoeing.
There is a privately-operated outdoor recreation centre at the Grange Yard where mountain bikes, e-bikes and canoes can be hired. The Grange Coffee House is also there 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: email@example.com
- phone: 0300 013 2233
Camping and touring
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 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 for a mixture of tents or touring vehicles. There are no electric hookups 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. It has a supermarket, food stores, petrol retail outlets and other commercial premises including bars, laundry, restaurant, hairdressing, banking and post office facilities.
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.
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.
More information about walking trails can be found on the WalkNI website.
Castlewellan Arboretum and Annesley Garden
The walled Annesley Garden, dating from 1740, is a central focal point for the National Arboretum. This magnificent collection of trees and shrubs, set in beautiful surroundings, also has 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 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.
There's other signage 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.
Other forests to visit
- Forest camping and touring online booking
- Camping and touring sites in forests
- Public forests in Northern Ireland