Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Walk of the Week: Loughgall Country Park

Loughgall Country Park lies close to the picturesque village of Loughgall and is a 188-hectare estate owned by Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The country park is situated within the estate, on land leased to Armagh City and District Council.

There are a number of walks taking in open ground, orchards and woodland areas, and you could spot kestrels hovering over grassland, buzzards hunting for food and a variety of songbirds. Brown hares and foxes are regularly seen throughout the site.

Directions

The walk starts at the top of the car park at Loughgall Country Park. Follow the tarmac pathway, keeping to the left of the two

Y-junctions. Continue through the pedestrian entrance at the metal gate and proceed 20 metres to the T-junction where it meets a tarmac roadway. Turn left and continue straight ahead at the crossroads, following the walkway markers.

Keep to the left along the tarred road and avoid the first right to the manor house. Continue straight ahead 50 metres and avoid the two left turns. Head down the hill, keeping left at the Y-junction. Keep to the road until you come to a junction at the bottom of a hill (woodland on your left and an open field with a large tree on your right).

From this point, continue straight ahead, taking the first left where you reach a D-rail fence/stone pillars. Follow the tarmac path which will bring you past a lime kiln on your right. Continue following the tarmac road for a further 1km and at the silver metal gates, turn right onto the stone path. At the end of this path, turn right onto a concrete roadway, and follow the concrete/tarred road, keeping left.

At this point, you will be passing a yarded area on your right. Continue straight ahead at the crossroads and follow the path meandering through the forest. Proceed down the steep hill, passing the sign for the ice house on your right and through another wooded area.

When you reach the end you will come to a T-junction — turn right and, passing the lime kiln on your left, follow the path straight ahead to the next T-junction. Turn left and follow the path past reception back to the car park.

The backdrop

Few scenes could be more beautiful than rural Armagh during apple blossom season. The Orchard County, or the Orchard of Ireland as it is known, comes alive with colour as the flowers of the apple trees blanket much of the deep green landscape with an array of beautiful pinks, ranging from delicate soft pinks to bright vibrant fuchsia.

Loughgall is home to the site where the famous Battle of Diamond took place in 1795 — it lies four miles north of the village. Dan Winters Cottage is an old thatched cottage which dates back to pre-1750 and consists of living quarters, spirit grocers and weaver’s quarters — with a full working loom.

It is situated at the centre of the site where the Battle of the Diamond took place and its timbers still bear the scorch marks from when the house was set alight during the battle. At 94ft long it is believed to be the longest thatched cottage in Ireland.

Dan Winters Ancestral Home was the home of the Winter family from before 1700, and an old oak beam has been dendrochronologically dated to 1703.

This listed building is an 18th century vernacular thatched farmhouse and is recognised in its listing as ‘The meeting place following the Battle of the Diamond, where the decision to form the Orange Order was made’.

Further information

For further information on walking or any other outdoor activity, please contact Outdoor Recreation NI (formerly CAAN) at, tel: 028 9030 3930 or walkni.com .

Outdoor Recreation NI (formerly CAAN) in association with Belfast Telegraph have provided this information. Every care has been taken to ensure accuracy of the information. Outdoor Recreation NI 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: Loughgall Country Park – Bridlepath Walk

Area: Armagh.

Nearest big town: Armagh.

Distance: 3.6 miles, circular.

Time: Approximately one hour and 30 minutes. to complete.

Terrain: The walk takes place on tarmac pathways and country lanes.

Walk Developed By: Armagh City and District Council in co-ordination withHighway to Health.

Facilities: Car parking (£2 fee charged) and toilets are available within the Country Park. The reception area at Loughgall Country Park can supply tea/coffee and a range of soft drinks. Additionally the Famous Grouse Restaurant, approx three miles from the country park, is open Thursday through to Sunday, for bar snacks and a la carte meals.

Map: Loughgall Country Park can be found on Sheet 19 of Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland Discovery Series, available from LPSNI Map Shop, Colby House, Stranmillis, Belfast BT9 SBJ (lpsni.gov.uk).

Publications: Walking routes within Loughgall Country Park are shown on the General Country Park brochure which can be obtained at reception.

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