Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Wing your way around the stunning Eagle’s Glen

This breathtakingly scenic route takes you through the ancient landscape of the picturesque Glenullin Valley.

Directions

The starting and finishing point is the main car park in Garvagh Forest, located just off Garvagh's Main Street (A29) at the southern end of the village. Car parking available in forest car park.

Start in the main car park at Garvagh Forest, just off the town's Main Street. Leave the rear of the car park and head into the forest, following the wooden waymarker posts.

At the western edge of the forest, exit on to Plantation Road and continue along this road until reaching a crossroads. Turn left at the crossroads on to Ballyrogan Road and then after a short distance turn right on to Gortnamoyagh Road — at this junction the cyclist can keep straight on to visit Errigal Old Church and souterrain and Errigal Glen.

After a short distance along Gortnamoyagh Road, cyclists can stop off and visit the inauguration stone within Gortnamoyagh Forest on the left. Continue the gradual ascent along Gortnamoyagh Road, with Glenullin bog and rolling hills to the south.

On reaching the next junction, known locally as the Five Roads End, turn left and proceed along Belraugh Road. Take extra care on this B-class road, and stop off to enjoy the scenery at Legavannon Pot, a glacial meltwater feature from the last Ice Age.

At the next junction turn left on to Legavannon Road, again watching for traffic. At the sharp left-hand bend along this road, slow down and turn sharp right, and then immediately left on to Lisnacreghog Road.

Having descended into the Glenullin Bog valley, turn left on to Glenullin Road and enjoy the peace and tranquillity while travelling through the heart of the lowland raised bog. On reaching the next junction turn right along Brockagh Road and ascend towards the hamlet of Glenullin. If the Resource Centre is open, call in to learn more about the local area's natural and cultural heritage. At the top of the hill, turn left along Glen Road and begin the long, gradual descent towards the finish.

At a sharp right-hand bend turn left on to Temple Road and then right on to Glebe Road. Enjoy cycling over one of the few fords over the Agivey River in this area. At the next junction turn right along Churchtown Road, and then next left, finishing off at the starting point in Garvagh Forest.

The Backdrop

The small town of Garvagh was important from very early times, but was destroyed by fire during the Battle of Garvagh, and rebuilt as a Plantation town — its broad main street and neatly planned buildings are evidence today of that period.

Garvagh Forest takes in more than 200 hectares. Formerly part of Lord Garvagh’s Estate, the forest is accessed by a network of more than 11km of paths and roads winding through coniferous and broadleaved trees.

The unusual folly of Garvagh Pyramid was created within the forest as a burial chamber for Lord Garvagh in the 19th Century, but was never allowed to fulfill the task for which it was designed.

Located within Gortnamoyagh Forest, the unusual Gortnamoyagh Inauguration Stone, featuring two carved footprints, was used until the 16th Century during local Gaelic Chieftain Inauguration ceremonies.

Errigal Old Church was originally founded by St Adamnan in the 7th Century, but the site now consists of the ruined remains of a medieval church in the centre of a walled graveyard, a rock-souterrain and a ballaun stone.

Legavannon Pot (Hollow of the Soul) and Legananam Pot (Hollow of the Breast) are two spectacular meltwater channels in Garvagh and Dungiven.

Further information

For further information on cycling or any other outdoor activity, please contact Countryside Access and Activities Network (CAAN) tel: 028 9030 3930 or cycleni.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.

Cycle Name: Eagle’s Glen Cycle Route.

Area: The Sperrins.

Nearest town to start point: Garvagh.

Distance: 14 miles circular.

Terrain: Gravel dust paths through Garvagh Forest, bitmac roads on remainder of route.

Access Restrictions: May encounter Forest Service vehicles on section through Garvagh Forest. Remainder of route on mostly quiet country roads. Car parking available in forest car park.

Refreshments: Refreshments and toilet facilities available in Garvagh.

Publications: Sperrins Cycle Routes Laminated Route Cards — Route No.11. Coleraine TIC, tel: 028 7034 4724. CBC Leisure Services, tel: 028 7034 7234

Cycle Developed By: Sustrans and Sperrins Tourism

Map: Sheet 29 of Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland Discoverer Series, available from Land & Property Services Map Shop (lpsni.gov.uk)

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