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Tollymore Forest Park, Newcastle
Tollymore Forest Park,
Tel: 028 4372 2428
On 2nd June 2005 Tollymore Forest Park celebrated its 50th anniversary. In 1955 it became the first state forest in Northern Ireland to be designated as a Forest Park.
Tollymore Forest Park was previously owned by Robert Jocelyn, 8th Earl of Roden and purchased by the Department of Agriculture in 1930 and 1941. Covering an area of 1,600 acres 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.
Tollymore Forest Park is one of three forests across Northern Ireland piloting the "in-touch" information kiosk. The kiosk contains lots of information on the forest and its surrounding area including useful tourist information. The kiosk is located at the bottom corner of the upper car park.
Opening Hours: The Forest is open every day of the year from 10:00 am until sunset.
Tollymore Forest Park was the first state forest park in Northern Ireland, established on the 2 June 1955. It is located at Bryansford, near the town of Newcastle. The forest has four walking trails signposted by different coloured arrows, the longest being the long haul trail at 8 miles long. The Shimna River flows through the park. The Forest Park is now owned and run by the Forest Service NI, part of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
- Tollymore Forest Park
- Mountain Walks
- Bryansford Village
- Newcastle Town
- Stunning Views
Red Squirrels in Tollymore Forest Park
The well established and successful Red Squirrel Group has been working with the red squirrels in Tollymore Forest Park since 2004 when there were only 11 red squirrels in the forest. A survey carried out in 2008 showed that four years of hard work by the volunteers and the forest service had enabled the population of red squirrels to increase to 103 animals.
Tollymore Forest Park Mountain Trail
Passing through the Tollymore Forest Plots, the Mountain Trail enters a beech woodland, which in the spring is covered in bluebells.
The route runs parallel with the Shimna River before crossing it over the Boundary Bridge.
The trail continues along one of the Shimna rivers tributaries through mature conifer forest. Good views of Luke’s mountain can be had as the trail reaches the boundary wall before zigzagging back toward the Spinkwee River, crossing at the Hore’s bridge.
For those seeking a longer walk, follow the optional Drinns Trail from the crossroads.
The Drinns are two distinct hills clearly seen from the main car park. The easterly Drinn is the highest point in the Forest Park at 255m. The Curraghard viewpoint offers a resting spot to view the expansive view of the Northern Mournes, Dundrum Bay, Newcastle town and the Irish Sea.
This Black Trail adds a further 2.9 miles by circumnavigating the Drinns running along the boundary wall and past conifer forest to Curraghhard viewpoint and back to the Mountain Trail.
The second half of the Mountain Trail passes through conifer plantations at various stages of maturity before reaching the second crossing point of the Shimna River at the Ivy Bridge.
The return route to the car park proceeds along the old river drive passing Foley’s bridge and the dramatic Shimna Gorge before returning up the Green Rig.
Tollymore Forest Park has 110 pitches of which 43 are electrical.
Tollymore Forest Park is open all year for camping.
Directions to Tollymore Forest Park from Newcastle:
From Newcastle, follow the road to Bryansford for 1.9 miles. The entrance to Tollymore Forest Park is on the left, opposite the Middle Tollymore Road.
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