Drumkeeragh Forest

Drumkeeragh Forest is seven miles south west of Ballynahinch on the lower slopes of Slieve Croob. The forest has mixed coniferous trees. From the forest there are extensive views across County Down.

Activities

There are no facilities for recreational activities. The public are welcome to visit this forest on foot.

To arrange a special event or activity in this forest, such as sporting events or educational visits, contact the recreation manager at Castlewellan Forest Park.

Occasionally there may be restricted access to parts of the forests during work or other forest operations so pay attention to safety signage.

About this forest

Drumkeeragh Forest is a commercial coniferous woodland covering 200 hectares with an elevation which rises from 190 metres to 310 metres.

A small car park for visitors is located off the Drumnaquoile Road. An extensive forest road system allows walkers to access most of the forest.

All roads within the forest have rough gravel surfaces and strong footwear is recommended. There are good views of the surrounding countryside, with glimpses of Strangford Lough and Scrabo Tower visible between the low rounded hills. Looking towards the north west, a broad panorama stretches from Slieve Croob on the left to the Antrim Hills on the right. The view in the centre is across small hill farms, beyond which the Sperrin Mountains may be seen on a clear day.

Trees

Within the forest sitka spruce is the main tree species with Norway spruce, European larch, western red cedar, douglas and noble fir, Scots, Corsican and lodgepole pines also present. These species were planted to produce timber harvests over a rotation of about 50 years.

The land is not suitable for growing broadleaved timber trees because of its high elevation and the poor quality soil.

Drumkeeragh Forest is now entering its second rotation and a programme of felling and replanting has been undertaken in recent years.

Due to sustainable woodland management in this ‘new’ forest, landscaping and wildlife conservation receive greater emphasis and some native broadleaves, including silver birch and mountain ash, have been planted.

A greater diversity of bird species is also found within the forest as these second rotation crops develop and mature.

How to get there

From Ballynahinch, take the B2 to Dromara. After half a mile turn left onto Castlewellan Road and go for three and a half miles to the forest.

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