Moyola Forest

Moyola Forest, north of Castledawson, covers 47 hectares in two blocks, Moyola and Drumlamph.


There are no facilities for recreational activities. The public are welcome to visit this forest on foot.

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

There may be restrictions on access to parts of the forest from time to time due to forest operations. Pay attention to safety signage. 

About this forest

The forest area is located on what was once raised bog in the flat, low lying floodplain of the Moyola River. Within this a significant part consists of raised areas for example, Island McGurk and Drumlamph, which are on good mineral soil. They were probably never covered in peat and so evidence of a long history of woodland cover is widespread.

These areas contain many species in the ground, flora that are characteristic of long established native woodland, despite much of it having been planted with conifers. The area is home to only three recorded sightings in Northern Ireland of the rare Green Flowered Helleborine, a protected species. Bluebell is quite common in the wood, along with native broadleaved shrubs such as hazel.

As a result, more than half of the forest area is managed mainly for conservation objectives.

All of Drumlamph block has been identified as a Plantation on an Ancient Woodland Site (PAWS). Conifers are gradually being removed to give place to native tree species and a more natural woodland environment. About one third of Moyola block contains mature and newly planted broadleaved trees, where continuous tree cover is the underlying management principle to achieve both timber production and biodiversity objectives.

The forest is open every day from 8.00 am until sunset for pedestrian access only.

How to get there

The nearest towns are Castledawson and Bellaghy. Castledawson is between Magherafelt and Bellaghy. Moyola block can be found on the Knockloughrim Road (off the A54), on which lies the Drumlamph Road, and Drumlamph block.

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