Due to severe weather warnings affecting County Fermanagh from Tuesday 18 to Wednesday 19 September 2018, the scenic drive and viewpoint at Lough Navar Forest will be closed temporarily to vehicle traffic. The closure will be in effect from 3.00 pm Tuesday and is expected to last until Thursday 20 September.
Lough Navar Forest Drive is seven miles long so that visitors can enjoy the scenery. Car parking facilities, picnic areas, viewpoints and short walks to interesting features have been provided.
The Ulster Way, rising to a height of 735 feet passes through the forest.
On the other side of the road from the forest entrance is the start of the Correl Glen Nature Trail which runs through part of the extensive Largalinny National Nature Reserve. This reserve contains some rare plants and almost all the native Irish species of butterfly.
To arrange a special event or activity in this forest, such as sporting events or educational visits, contact the recreation manager at Enniskillen Forest Office.
Occasionally there might be restricted access to parts of the forest due to works. Please adhere to safety information on signage.
The forest is open every day from 10.00 am until sunset.
About this forest
Along with Carrigan, Big Dog, Conagher and Ballintempo forests the total forest area covers over 8,500 hectares and is the largest continuous forest in Northern Ireland.
The entrance to the drive has a small car park and information board. A short walk off the main path allows a view down to Carrick Lough with the remains of its ancient crannog still visible.
Clear felling has allowed a more sympathetic redesigning of the forest. Broadleaves such as oak, birch, and beech are now planted. Some areas are left unplanted for the benefit of wildlife and the landscape. From this point there is a panoramic view of Fermanagh and Cavan.
Whiterocks and Lough Slawn
Further up the drive comes the starting point for the Whiterocks and Lough Slawn Trails.
Continue uphill until the forest takes on a more rugged appearance. Discreet clear felling has revealed craggy outcrops and small loughs. Soon the drive reaches its highest point at the spectacular Magho Viewpoint where you can enjoy a bird's eye view of Lower Lough Erne and its islands. To the east are the rounded Sperrin mountains, to the north lie the Blue Stacks, while to the west there is Slieve League, Donegal Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
The Old Man's Head
The natural vegetation changes to a more upland variety, with speedwell, aquilegia, heather and scabious. The roadside verges are cut late in the season to allow the flowering plants to bloom. These attract butterflies such as Red Admiral, speckled Wood and Peacock. The poor soils limit the planted tree species to sitka spruce and lodgepole pine. Note the rock outcrop in the shape of an old man's head.
The drive now reaches the car park at Lough Achork. A trail has been provided which circles this pleasant lough and also provides views of distant rugged crags. Lough Achork is the source of the Sillees River which runs through Correl Glen to eventually join Lough Erne near Enniskillen.
Near the exit of the drive a 'sweat house' is signposted. In the past sweat houses were built to ease sufferers of rheumatism. A fire was lit in the small chamber to heat stones, while rushes placed on top produced the same effect as the modern sauna.
The Aghameelan Viewpoint car park is the starting point for the waymarked Blackslee Trail, a four mile walk along forest roads through the oldest part of the forest and leading to a waterfall at its furthest point.
Whiterocks and Lough Slawn Trails
Both trails are about half a mile long and afford superb views of Lower Lough Erne and the hills of west Fermanagh and Leitrim.
How to get there
To reach this forest, travel along the B81 Derrygonnelly to Garrison road. At the T junction turn left onto the Glennasheevar Road for about three miles. The entrance is on the right.