Irish forest parks generally have a great emphasis on recreational facilities and most have marked walking trails, cafes, campsites and car parks, so if you feel like a woodland walk then this is a great way to do it. In total, there are twenty forest parks in Ireland so plenty to choose from. We’ve selected a couple of our favourites: Portuma Forest Park, Galway
Portuma Forest Park covers almost 450 hectares. There are four woodland walk trails of varying distances and two mountain bike trails; both are easy rides suitable for all ages that take you along beautiful lake shores and through the woodland. A notable feature of the park is the yew and juniper trees in open woodland along the lake shore. The park has a large population of fallow deer along with pine marten, fox, badger and red squirrel. There is also a big inland colony of cormorants nesting in one of the islands.
Avondale Forest Park, Wicklow
Avondale Forest Park is the birthplace of Irish Forestry. There are three main woodland walks at Avondale; The River Walk is definitely the longest and hardest with steep descents and climbs. Walking alongside the river you pass under two railway bridges and there are stunning river views not to mention the view of Lovers Leap further up the hill. Certainly worth the effort you’ll put in. The Second woodland walk is the Tree Trail where you will meet trees from many corners of the world. Thirdly The Railway Walk which is a linear walk from Rathdrum railway station through the forest to Avondale House. There are also some great leisure cycling routes, orienteering, a children’s playground and a picnic site.
Ards Forest Park, Donegal
Ard’s Forest is certainly one of the most beautiful places you could choose to do a woodland walk. It is 480 hectares and contains a large diversity of plants and wildlife. Ard’s Forest boasts sandy beaches and rivers for those who like to dip their toes and be by the water, plus nature walks, picnic areas and children’s play parks. There are also historical and archaeological interests with in the park including the remains of four ring forts and a number of megalithic tombs. You must also reach the numerous viewing points to see the spectacular views of the surrounding countryside – there is certainly something for all members of the family here. It has a really serene and relaxing feel so if you’re in need of some time out or just fancy a woodland walk in exquisite surroundings then it will be perfect for you.