Northern Ireland is a place of beauty.
Matt and I are guilty of not exploring our local area nearly enough… I know lots of people are. We have promised ourselves we will adventure more in Northern Ireland! There are gonna be Northern Irish adventures a plenty in our near future. You lucky ducks get to come with us! I am even working on my video making. 😏 There might be a little something at the end of this post. 📽
Tollymore Forest Park
Tollymore Forest Park is located in Bryansford, just a stones throw away from the picturesque, buzzing seaside town of Newcastle. Covering just over 1600 acres, the park provides an ideal introduction to the Mourne area, with stunning views of the Mourne Mountains and the coast.
Once you have paid your way in ( a mere £5 a car ) and parked in the vast car park the next step is to select your walking route. Of course, you are welcome to have a freestyle stroll. But I’m a route taker. 🤘🏼There are 4 to choose from, all of which you can have a nosey at on walkni.com. We selected the red trail, also known as the River Trail. Mainly because it was called the River Trail, and we all love water. Also because it hit a middle ground with the distance! 5.2km is a nice distance to fit into a morning, especially when you aren’t too sure how mountainous the walk may be. ⛰
The River Trail
There are a number of things to look out for on the River Trail, and I would recommend picking up a leaflet from the park rangers to help you keep track. One of my favourites is the The Hermitage. A small stone shelter designed by James Hamilton (2nd Earl of Clanbrassil) in the 1770s in memory of his friend the Marquis of Monthermer. I am also rather fond of the stepping stones. Great for photos on a sunny day – even better when it’s quiet. You can see Matt & Cwtch conquering these stepping stones in the video. However, caution would need to be applied with small children!
On the return leg of the trail, you cross Spinkwee River via the Altavaddy bridge. This is where the Starks found their Direwolves in the first episode of Game of Thrones! No Direwolves about on our walk though – yet we did pass a number of people in costume… but I think they were just fans 🙃 They also filmed a lot of scenes from North of the Wall in the forest around Parnell’s bridge, which is the last bridge you come to while you are walking with the river to your left. It’s the bridge you see me strolling over in the video.
We took about an hour and a half to complete the River Trail in Tollymore Forest Park, though I am sure you could zoom around in just over 1/2 the time if you were determined. We took time to throw sticks into the water for Cwtch. Detoured to take in the view. And took many moments to stop while I fiddled with my camera!
Tollymore Forest Park is one of my favourite places on the island of Ireland. It’s also one of Cwtch’s top 10 places to run about like a mad thing… See video below for a sample of such craziness…. If you are planning a holiday in Northern Ireland I would highly recommend adding it to your to do list 🏞
I’d love to know what you think of our short video diary of the day. Hopefully it gives you a taste of what to expect if you visit Tollymore Forest Park!