Gosford Forest Park's visitor facilities are in the process of being improved. This will mean better walking, cycling and horse riding trails. New forest signage and map displays will also give you a better understanding of the forest and facilities available.
Works are ongoing and therefore some areas of the forest may have restricted access as work progresses. Visitors are asked to follow all health and safety notices and signs.
From 1 January 2019 this forest will be managed by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
To arrange a special event or activity in this forest, such as sporting events or educational visits, email the Gosford Forest Park manager at Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
Sometimes there may be limited access to parts of the forest during timber harvesting work or other forest operations. Pay attention to safety signage.
Children's play park
A children's play area can be found beside the visitor car park and is open each day when the main forest park is open.
Features of Gosford Forest Park
In 1958 Forest Service acquired Gosford Demesne from the Earl of Gosford, whose family was descended from the Acheson family. It was the Acheson’s who first established woodland, parkland and several buildings on the demesne more than 300 years earlier.
Gosford Forest Park has several miles of paths and trails provided for visitors to see these historical features, along with a mixture of conifer and broadleaf woodland with its diverse range of flora and fauna.
Gosford Arboretum has a wide variety of conifer and broadleaf tree species from around the world, many of which are over 150 years old. Some of the original features are still there, such as the old Ha-Ha ditch built more than two centuries ago to keep wild deer away from the castle gardens.
At the northern end of the arboretum beside the old walled garden, a walkway has been planted with flowering shrubs and plants and has a sundial as its focal point.
Millponds and Gatehouse
Before electricity became widely available other energy sources were used to provide power. The water wheel, visible on the grassed area beside the car park, was once used to power a corn mill for grinding grain.
To make sure a steady supply of water was always available two large millponds were created, with a connecting channel (known as a mill race) leading to the water wheel. Although no longer in use as millponds they offer an ideal environment for flora and fauna that thrive in a water habitat.
The entrance leading to Clonkearney (or Cloncarney) Manor, the original home of the Earls of Gosford, is located between the two millponds. During the Irish Rebellion of 1641 the manor house was destroyed by fire, although a replacement was built and remained inhabited for another 200 years. The old stone arch is still standing here today, with one gatehouse on each side and these would have provided a home for two families.
How to get there
From Armagh, follow the A28 Newry Road to Markethill. The entrance to the forest is signposted along this road.