Gosford Forest Park

Gosford Forest Park has 240 hectares of mixed woodland and open parkland.

Activities

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

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

Children's play park

A children's play area has been completed and is now open to the public. Normal entrance fees apply.

Caravanning and camping

The main stay site offers extensive facilities for caravanning and camping. There are modern toilets and showers, together with a fresh water supply, chemical toilet disposal point and electricity hook-up for caravans.

Caravanning and camping charges

For details of the charges, visit the following page:

Bookings

To book, contact the forest ranger at Gosford Forest Park.

Before you make a booking, understand the camping and caravanning terms and conditions as they set out the agreement between you and Forest Service to use their services.  To view the terms, follow the link below:  

Trails

Blue: Castle path (one mile)

This path takes in the Arboretum and southern end of the Walled Garden before reaching the boundary of the privately owned Gosford Castle. From here the path leads through oak and Norway spruce plantations returning to the car park by the Rare Breed and Heritage Poultry enclosures, and café.

Red: Greer’s trail (two-and-a-half miles)

Dean Swift’s Well and Chair can be viewed along the Drumlack River before reaching the Millpond. The trail enters the beech woodland on Draper’s Hill and then skirts around the boundary of Gosford Castle into coniferous forest plantations, made up mainly of Norway spruce.

On the return to the car park, visitors can see the grassy mound of Greer’s Fort, named after a farming family who arrived in the area during the 1600s. The deer and heritage poultry enclosures are near the trail’s end.

Red 1: Crunaght trail (four miles)

This trail branches south from Greer’s Trail through Norway spruce and some broadleaf woodland, and crosses the southern part of Drumlack River. After the second river crossing point, the trail enters the middle of the open parkland through the deer and rare breed enclosures before returning towards the car park.

Cycling trail (four miles)

Starting and finishing in the main car park, this trail leads cyclists towards the Millponds, crossing over the Drumlack River and then passing through the Gate House archway.

Turning right the trail follows the boundary of the arboretum before heading into the forest. Non bitmac forest roads and narrower tracks characterise this woodland section. The woodland cover opens into parkland as the trail returns to the car park via the red deer and heritage poultry enclosures.

The trail is mostly level with some very slight inclines in places. Novice cyclists should expect to complete the trail in about an hour, not including stops along the way.

Suitable for children of all ages, this leisure trail provides a safe and enjoyable cycle ride with lots.

Parts of these trails are used for horse riding.

Ecotrail

To download the Gosford ecotrail activity book, guides, maps, control card and tree identification chart, visit the following page:

Ecotrails are linked to the sport of orienteering. They give people an opportunity to develop a knowledge and understanding of, and responsibility to, the local natural and built environment by using the 'outdoor classroom' of the countryside. 

Features of Gosford Forest Park

In 1958, Forest Service acquired Gosford Demesne. Before then, the Earls of Gosford owned the estate for centuries. They were descendants of the Acheson family who established woodland, parkland and edifices on the estate.

Gosford Forest Park offers visitors paths and trails to see these historical features, and the mix of conifer and broadleaf woodlands, with its diverse flora and fauna.

The Arboretum

There is a variety of individual, conifer and broadleaf tree species from around the world; many of which are over 150 years old. At the northern end of the arboretum, flowering shrubs and plants and a sundial as its focal point, can be visited beside the Walled Garden.

Deer enclosure, heritage poultry and rare animal breeds collection

The deer and rare breeds enclosures are on the remnant of open parkland that was an important landscape feature of the Earl of Gosford’s estate. Forest Service has maintained this historic landscape feature and the red deer are one of the three varieties found in Ireland.

The heritage poultry is a collection of some original poultry breeds that many modern fowl are derived from.

Millponds and Gatehouse

Before electricity, other methods were used to provide power. The mill wheel in the car park was driven by water to process grain. To make sure there was a steady supply of water, the millponds were created to hold a constant water supply. Although their use as millponds is redundant, they offer an ideal environment for flora and fauna that thrive in a water habitat.

The gateway to Clonkearney Manor, the original home of the Earls of Gosford, lies between the two ponds. A fire destroyed the house in the 1600s. The arched gatehouse remains, which was designed to house two families, one on each side of the archway.

How to get there

From Armagh, follow the A28 Newry Road to Markethill. The entrance to the forest is signposted along this road.

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