The forest covers 460 hectares
of natural beauty enhanced by diverse woodland and a variety
of attractive man made features, all of which are accessible
to the visitor on foot.
The land was leased from the
Annesley family in 1967 and became a Forest Park in 1969.
Peace Maze, the largest maze in the world, was officially
opened by Mrs Brid Rodgers, Minister of Agriculture and Rural
Development, on Wednesday 12th September 2001.
The forest is open every day
of the year from 10:00am until sunset.
A Mile Long Lake, ringed by hills
clothed in broadleaved and coniferous woodland and open areas
of mature parkland. The lake is stocked with trout and day
fishing permits are available from the Ranger. Canoeing is
also permitted on application to the Ranger.
Annesley Garden and Arboretum which comprises a series of
attractive and distinctive features of which the walled garden
provides a magnificant focal point.
A castle, built in the Scottish
baronial style, constructed from Ballymagreehan granite, sits
at the base of the wooded slopes and overlooks the lake. The
castle is now used as a conference centre.
Grange Yard, a former farmstead, built around 1720 and consists
of three courtyards in the Queen Anne style of architecture.
The entrance to the first and best preserved yard is flanked
by two Napoleonic eagles. The buildings house the Grange Coffee
House and an exhibition area.
Peace Maze, the world's largest maze was opened on 12th September
2001. You can follow it's progress at it's own website at
Admission Fees for 2002: Car
£4.00 Motorbike £2.00 Minibus £10.00 Coach
Pedestrian Access: Adult £2.00 Child £0.50
Tollymore was previously
owned by Robert Jocelyn, 8th Earl of Roden and purchased by
the Department of Agriculture in 1930 and 1941. In 1955 it
became the first state forest in Northern Ireland to be designated
as a Forest Park. Covering an area of almost 500 hectares
at the foot of the Mourne mountains, the forest park offers
panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the sea at
nearby Newcastle, while within its own boundaries are many
splendid vistas of woodland and rivers.
Tollymore was listed in the Sunday
Times top 20 British picnic sites for 2000.
Shimna River which flows along its rocky bed through the centre
of the Park from the Mournes to the sea at Newcastle. The
tree shaded river with its numerous deep pools is home to
a variety of birds and mammals such as dippers, kingfishers
The Stone Bridges across the
River Shimna. These ornate bridges some of which were constructed
over 200 years ago by various owners of the estate are fine
examples of the stonemasons craft. Several of them were built
in honour or in rememberance of relatives and friends.
Cedar Avenue planted inside the Barbican Gate entrance. These
magnificent Himalayan cedars (Cedrus deodara) with their wide
spreading branches and blue/green foliage form an imposing
and picturesque entrance to the park.
Hermitage is a mass of stones carefully put together to form
a room about 12 feet by 8 feet, with an opening to the river
path at each end. There are two larger openings which look
down on the river below. At one time there was a stone seat
palced at the back of the room, and a bust, and an inscription
on the backwall. They were put there by James Hamilton, second
Earl of Clanbrassil, as a memorial to a friend, the Marquis
of Monthermer, who died in 1770. the bust and stone seat have
disappeared. The inscription, in Greek, reads: "Clanbrassil,
to his very dear friend Monthermer 1770".
Barn was constructed about 1757 at the same time as the old
parts of the mansion house. The building was used as stables
and stores until the end of 1971. The ground floor has been
converted to provide a small lecture theatre and toilet facilities
while the upper floor has been developed as an interperative
centre. The steeple at the eastern end has a fine old clock
and sundial. The bell which strikes the hour bears the inscription
"C : & : I Rudhall Glocester Fect 1785". The
bell was tolled in the past to mark the beginning and ending
of the working day, and any event of family or national importance.
The sundial on the southern face of the tower can be read
easily in suitable weather.
Opening Hours: The Forest
is open every day of the year from 10:00 am until sunset.
Admission Fees for 2002: Car
£4.00 Motorbike £2.00 Minibus £10.00 Coach
Pedestrian Access: Adult £2.00 Child £0.50
Directions:From Belfast, take
the A24 south to Clough Village, then join the A2 Newcastle
Road. Before entering Newcastle on the A2, turn right at the
roundabout on to the A50, signed Castlewellan. After approximately
two miles turn left onto the B180 signed Tollymore Forest
Park and follow signs to the park and caravan site.
Forest lies at the foot of the Mournes and houses some
of the most spectacular viewpoints in County Down taking in
areas such as Newcastle and district, Dundrum Bay, St John's
Point and to the north west Slieve Croob.
The area to the north east of
the forest has been designated as a Heritage Stand. It was
planted in 1927 and consists of Scots and Corsican pine, with
herbaceous plants and woody shrubs hidden below the tree canopy.
This area is the habitat for a variety of species of birds
and uncommon butterflies.
The Glen River Bridge provides
a picturesque viewpoint for the many cascades and waterfalls
and was built by the Annesley family. Nearby are some of the
remaining ornamental trees planted by the family, these include
Monkey Puzzle and Giant Red Wood.
There are four way marked trails
which follow a circular route returning to Donard Bridge with
the exception of the Glen River Trail which travels up to
the open mountain above the forest.
There are few parklands in existence which could surpass the
beauty of Kilbroney Park. Here mountain, stream, sea-lough
and valley contribute to conjure up a scenic wonderland.
Acquired as public parkland by
Newry & Mourne District Council in 1977, the 97 acres
which form Kilbroney Park lie close to the shore of Carlingford
Lough in the shadow of the forest-clad Slieve Martin.
As a backdrop to Kilbroney Park
stands the impressive 4,000 acre Rostrevor Forest rising sharply
from 30m to 500m above sea level. First planted out in 1931
mostly with coniferous species, the forest has numerous attractions
including a breathtaking two mile forest drive providing panoramic
views over Carlingford Lough, an old oak plantation dating
from the 18th Century, the famous 40 tonnes "Cloughmore"
or "Big Stone" and a host of animals ranging from
grouse and irish jays to pine martens, red and grey squirrels,
foxes and badgers.
park offers a wide range of facilities and services, which
include tennis courts, childrens play area, playing fields,
an aboretum, barbeque and picnic areas and café.
Open spaces and pathways in Kilbroney
Park allow relaxing strolls and links directly into the forest
park where trails lead through oakwoods and planted slopes
of sitka spruce, douglas, fir and pine.
The Cloughmore car park at the
end of the forest drive, 230 metres above sea level provides
views of the surrounding forest and is a good starting point
for the three waymarked trails. The trails vary in length
from 1.25 miles to 4.5 miles, and take the visitor to various
areas within the forest to enjoy the many magnificent views
and beauty of the woodlands.
A well serviced caravan and camping
site caters for 52 touring vans and 30 tents and has full
electrical hook-up facilities, water, TV links and a recently
refurbished toilet and amenity block. Laundry services are
available at the park's reception area.
Other park facilities include
tennis courts, playing fields, a childrens play area
and horse and trap rides throughout the summer months. A café/restaurant,
with a viewing balcony is situated in the parks reception
Without doubt, the parks greatest
asset is its beautiful parkland and open spaces which offer
an unspoilt and relaxing recreational area for its many visitors.
How to get there
The village of Rostrevor is on
the A2 and is mid-way between Newry and Kilkeel. Rostrevor
is only a 20 minute drive from Newry and approximately one
hour from Belfast.
The park is located on the edge
of the village, with entrances at the Fairy Glen of Bridge
Street and the main vehicular entrance being located off the
Shore Road to Kilkeel.
For further information and camping
& caravan reservations contact:
The Park Warden
Tel: 028 417 38134
The Silent Valley is a Mountain
Park situated in the high Mournes and features a dam ringed
by dramatic Mountain panoramas and the famous Mourne wall
located in the U-shaped valley of the Kilkeel river.
The 200 acre site below the reservoir
is a combination of mountain, moorland and woodlands making
it an ideal setting for flora and fauna to flourish in.
The Silent Valley nestles high
amongst the Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The
Park is surrounded with breathtaking countryside, to the east
Craggy Binnian, to the west the Cliffs of Slievenag Lough,
and to the north Doon and Ben Crom.
As this area is a major local
asset to County Down, attention has been placed upon environmental
planning and recreational issues. The water service has ensured
that sustainable development has occurred in the area in order
to safeguard the area for future generations.
Management has applied techniques
such as limiting car access, providing shuttle busses and
issuing byelaws which visitors are expected to comply with.
Visitors are also expected to adhere to the Country Code,
which supports the Water Service in their attempts to
protect this local asset.
The Mountain Park has been developed
to cater for recreational visitors to enable families to have
a quiet day out.
The information centre and restaurant
are housed in two old colonial style bungalows, the last remnants
of the construction period. The information centre tells the
story of the silent valley via the exhibition. The restaurant
has impressive views over the mountain-park and is opened
at 11.00am to 6.30pm each day each day in July and August
and at weekends in June and September.
The seminar complex is fully
equipped with up-to-date facilities, thus providing a distinct
location for conferences. The complex is for hire all year
around and can be booked via the Water Services administration
There is a shuttle bus service
at the mountain park which frequently operates to/from Ben
Crom to/from the car park, between 12.00 noon and 5.45pm.
This service is available at weekends during May, June and
September and daily in July and August.
A return ticket costs £1.20
return and £0.90 single.
Pedestrian Adult £1.50
Pedestrian Child £0.50
Annual Permit Car £20.00
Annual Permit School Bus £50.00
At the turn of the 19th century
water supplies in Belfast were low, this was due to Belfasts
growing population and sudden industrialisation. To relieve
this growing problem two upland water catchments were developed,
however these catchments were unable to sustain water supplies
for the area.
with commendable foresight, the commissioners decided to carry
out investigations with the aim of discovering, "a new
sustainable area from which a plentiful supply of pure water
might be obtained", to take them into the 20th century.
To find this source of water
a distinguished local civil engineer, Mr Luke Livingstone
McCassey was appointed. Five likely sites were surveyed in
Down and Antrim. Following his investigations McCassey favoured
The Mournes were chosen primarily
for their natural supply of pure water, which was a result
of rainfall in the area. The area was also free from pollution
and industry, which is of paramount importance when looking
for a water source.
When the water commissioners
identified the high Mournes as a suitable source for providing
clean water, to an ever-expanding Belfast. Their plans included
a wall to surround the 9000 acre, catchment area. The wall
is now known as the Mourne Wall and it is said to be, "a
monument to the skill of the men who built it".
Mourne wall stands up to 8 feet high on average and it is
3 feet wide. The wall stretches for 22 miles and runs over
the highest peaks in the Mournes. Work began in 1904 and finished
in 1922 taking a total of 18 years to build.
The proposed area was capable
of supplying 30 million gallons of water per day, as there
wasnt a need for so much water the scheme was divided
into 3 stages.
The first stage was to divert
the water from the Kilkeel and Annalong rivers through pipes
to a new reservoir near carryduff. These two rivers would
be able to supply 10 million gallons of water per day.
The second stage was to build
a storage reservoir across the Kilkeel River. Then pipes were
to be laid to supply another 10 million gallons of water per
The third stage was to build
a second storage reservoir in Annalong to impound the Annalong
Cranfield beach is set in an idyllic location at the mouth
of Carlingford Lough, with the majestic Mourne Mountains as
a dramatic backdrop.
The long, south facing beach
offers excellent facilities for all visitors whether it be
for a gentle stroll or for more strenuous water based activities
and provides the perfect setting for the family with a wide
expanse of sand and clean bathing water.
European blue flag beach
Cranfield has been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag,
which is given to beaches and marinas across Europe that meet
strict criteria for both water quality and environmental management.
It was introduced in 1987 and sets common standards of good
management across Europe.
How to get there
Cranfield Beach is situated off the main A2 Rostrevor
to Kilkeel Road. The nearest town (Kilkeel) is located approximately
four miles from the beach. Access roads are clearly signposted.
Ordnance Survey Grid Ref: Jonathan 268 105.
Murlough Bay is an extraordinarily beautiful dune landscape,
fringing on one of Northern Irelands most popular beaches
and overlooked by the rounded peaks of the Mourne Mountains
to the south.
A boardwalk, suitable for wheelchairs,
leads from the National Trust car park through the dunes to
the beach, a long arc of sand several miles long. An information
centre and toilets are located in the car park and are open
throughout the summer months, and nearby holiday cottages
are available for rent throughout the year.
Murlough was declared Irelands
first nature reserve in 1967 and has been cared for by the
National Trust ever since, providing a haven for wildlife
and rare habitats.It is a great place for of seal watching.
Between 50 and 130 common and grey seals regularly use the
area for moulting, resting and feeding. Their numbers reach
their peak from July to October.
The dune system at Murlough has been calculated to be 6,000
years old. The landscape seen at Murlough today owes its appearance
to millennia of natural processes, particularly coastal processes
in the postglacial period. A particularly stormy period in
the 13th and 14th centuries resulted in a huge movement of
sand. Dune was formed upon dune resulting in the unusually
high dunes we see today.
The site contains evidence of human habitation from Neolithic
times, through the Bronze Age and up to the present day
it was even used as a base for troops, planes and tanks during
World War Two.