Forest news and events
Find out about forest closures and other news about public forests and country parks in Northern Ireland.
COVID-19 - camping and touring online booking
COVID-19 - In line with regulations, shared facilities on Forest Service camping and caravan sites reopened on 24 May 2021. Camping and caravan bookings can be made via the Forest Service online booking system.
Peace Maze at Castlewellan Forest Park
The Peace Maze at Castlewellan Forest Park is closed due to difficulty in maintaining social distancing when using this facility. The maze will stay closed until further notice. Forest Service apologises for any inconvenience and thanks visitors for continuing to observe social distancing and all safety signage.
Ballyboley Forest harvesting
Forest Service is doing clearfell work within Ballyboley Forest. It involves the felling of an area of forest next to Killylane Reservoir.
Harvesting works are to start on the week beginning 4 May 2021 and will continue for 12 to 15 weeks. Signage is and around the work site and Forest Service asks all users of the forest to follow the instructions on the signs.
Somerset Forest thinning programme
Forest Service have started an extensive thinning programme in Somerset Forest. The work involves the felling and removal of selected trees to improve crop quality and maintain forest cover. It will also result in better timber quality and will improve biodiversity by reducing the density of trees in the forest.
Harvesting operations started on the week beginning 26 April 2021. Diversions will be in place during the thinning programme with restrictions during the work. Forest Service asks that all users of the forest follow the signage.
Toilet facilities will be open from around 10.00 am to 5.00 pm daily at the following parks:
- Castlewellan Forest Park
- Drum Manor Forest Park
- Glenariff Forest Park
- Parkanaur Forest
- Portglenone Forest
- Tollymore Forest Park
- Castle Archdale Country Park
- Crawfordsburn Country Park and Helens Bay (visitor centre 10.00 am to 4.00 pm)
- Ness Country Park
- Peatlands Park
- Quoile Countryside Centre
- Roe Valley Country Park
- Scrabo Country Park
The Woodland’s Café at Crawfordsburn Country Park is open every day from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.
The Ritter Tea Rooms in Roe Valley Country Park is open every day from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.
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. Plan your visits in line with ongoing restrictions.
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.
You can get details of concessions for charities and community groups, caravanning and camping at this link:
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: