Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Walk of the Week: Corrog Wood

This short circular walk takes in stunning views of Strangford Lough and offers a great opportunity to explore a fascinating corner of the Ards Peninsula.

Nearby Portaferry is famous for the Exploris Aquarium and Seal Sanctuary. Its picturesque setting on the fast-flowing inlet to Strangford Lough makes it a popular tourist attraction in the summer.

Strangford Lough is of international importance for its wildlife — more than 2,000 different types of marine animals live there, from starfish and corals to sea anemones and sand eels.

In winter, two-thirds of the world population of pale-breasted Brent geese take refuge there. Walkers can enjoy the views of it all from Corrog Wood, one of 52 woods cared for by the Woodland Trust in Northern Ireland.

Directions

Corrog Wood sits approximately one mile north of Portaferry, just off the A20 Deerpark Road on the Ards Peninsula in County Down.

Travelling to Portaferry, the wood is located on the left-hand side and a small car park is in place at the entrance to the wood.

Visitors to Corrog Wood will be greeted by a curious wooden sculpture of a dryad. The sculpture has been affectionately and locally named the ‘Frump in the Stump’.

A dryad is a tree nymph in Greek mythology. The dryad keeps a watchful, protective eye on the new wood and, standing at the entrance, attracts the interest of all those passing by.

Continue past the dryad on through the little kissing gate and a circular pathway will be waiting to lead you around the 14-acre wood, where a mix of approximately 12,000 native trees and 400 metres of hedging has been planted.

The views from the woods show how little woodland there actually is on the Ards Peninsula, but you may be able to see the old established woodlands planted on the big estates.

The backdrop

The Frump in the Stump has been attracting more than its fair share of attention. In fact, it has become a regular stop-off for tourists on their way to the picturesque village of Portaferry at the mouth of Strangford Lough.

The new wood was formerly grazing fields set upon a drumlin in the rolling hill landscape typical of the Ards Peninsula, with gentle slopes down to nearby loughs and farmland.

From the top of the wood you can see down to Strangford Lough and the Portaferry House lands.

Strangford Lough has a substantial archaeological heritage. Intertidal archaeological surveys in recent years have brought hundreds of sites to light, including fish traps, tidal mills, kelp walls and harbours and landing places.

The name Strangford is derived from Old Norse, Strangr-fjoror, meaning ‘strong fjord’; describing the fast-flowing narrows at its mouth. It is called Loch Cuan (formerly anglicised as Lough Cuan) in Irish, meaning ‘calm lough’.

Further information

For further information on walking or any other outdoor activity, please contact Countryside Access and Activities Network (CAAN) at, tel: 028 9030 3930 or visit the website walkni.com.

CAAN in association with Belfast Telegraph have provided this information. Every care has been taken to ensure accuracy of the information. CAAN and Belfast Telegraph, however, cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions but where such are brought to our attention, the information for future publications will be amended accordingly.

Walk Name: Corrog Wood.

Area: Strangford Lough Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Nearest big town to start point: Portaferry.

Distance: One mile.

Terrain: This walk is on mainly grass and woodland paths with some gentle slopes.

Refreshments: Car park. Toilets and refreshments are available in Portaferry.

Walk Developed By: Corrog Wood is owned and cared for by the Woodland Trust.

Map: Sheet 21 of Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland Discovery Series, available from LPSNI Map Shop, Colby House, Stranmillis, Belfast BT9 SBJ (lpsni.gov.uk).

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