Forest news and events

Find out about forest closures and other news about public forests in Northern Ireland.

COVID-19 update

Toilet facilities will be open from approximately 10.00am to 5.00pm daily at the following locations.

Forest parks

  • Castlewellan Forest Park
  • Drum Manor Forest Park
  • Glenariff Forest Park
  • Parkanaur Forest
  • Tollymore Forest Park

Country Parks

  • Castle Archdale Country Park
  • Crawfordsburn Country Park and Helens Bay (visitor centre 10.00am to 4.00pm)
  • Ness Country Park
  • Peatlands Park
  • Quoile Countryside Centre
  • Roe Valley Country Park
  • Scrabo Country Park

Toilets remain closed at:

Forest Parks

  • Portglenone Forest - note the toilet at Portglenone Forest will remain closed as it is awaiting upgrade works

Country Parks

Other on-site facilities such as playparks, visitor centres and cafés will remain closed until further notice. Plan your visits in line with ongoing restrictions. 

The Woodlands café at the Crawfordsburn visitor centre is open for takeaway.

The Ritter tea rooms in Roe Valley Country Park are now open for takeaway.

At times car parks may be closed temporarily to support social distancing if sites become too busy or crowded. 

Make sure you follow Public Health Agency guidelines and maintain social distancing at all times: DAERA prepares to gradually lift restrictions on its estate

Cairn Wood

The car park at Cairn Wood is closed due to construction works to improve the recreation facilities at the forest in partnership with Ards and North Down Borough Council.

Camping and touring online booking

Camping and touring sites will re-open on Friday 26 June 2020. Customers should follow COVID-19 regulations and guidance and practise social distancing in the use of caravan and camping facilities. To allow social distancing measures to be met, Forest Service has reduced the number of pitches that can be booked at these sites and this will be kept under review.

Washing and toilet facilities will be open at Castlewellan, Tollymore, Glenariff and Drum Manor Forest Parks - but if you are able to use your own facilities in your unit you should do so as much as possible. This will help manage demand and queuing. In addition to site provision, caravan and camping customers are advised to bring their own soap and hand sanitisers - particularly important when using service points.

Bookings for Castlewellan, Tollymore, Glenariff and Drum Manor Forest Parks will start on the afternoon of Wednesday 24 June 2020. Note - at present Forest Service is only able to accept on-line bookings and payment.

All Touring in the Trees sites will re-open on Friday 26 June 2020, apart from Glenarifff and Florencecourt. Glenariff is temporarily closed due to essential harvesting operations. Florencecourt is temporarily closed due to works needed to replace the existing septic tank.  

Youth camping sites will re-open on Friday 26 June 2020 for pre-booked groups only. You will need to include a management plan, with risk assessments, showing how you will keep to COVID-19 regulations and guidance.  

    Paper bank notes

    All £5.00 and £10.00 paper notes were taken out of circulation on the 30 September 2019 because they were each replaced with polymer notes. For this reason, Forest Service is unable to accept paper notes after this date. 

    Note that banks in Northern Ireland will still accept all Northern Ireland paper notes from their own customers, which can either be deposited into their account or exchanged for polymer notes.  

    Forest recreation charges

    On event days, some charges apply to particular forests. There are also charges for the use of additional facilities in some forests - these apply to vehicles, people and to some activities and organised events. The link below has details of concessions for charities and community groups, caravanning and camping.

    Report wildlife sightings online

    In Northern Ireland, the Centre for Environmental Data and Recording (CEDaR) collates wildlife records for both native and non-native species.

    You can record your sightings on its website either as a single record event or you can register with them and send details through a free online account.

    Over 100 forests to explore

    Northern Ireland has over 100 public forests you can visit.  They’re great places for walking, exercising dogs, running, orienteering. In some you can organise events, go camping, caravanning, picnicking or horse riding. Find out more:

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