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9 ways to surround yourself with serenity in the Sperrins

See some of Northern Ireland's most spectacular scenery in the Sperrins

The Tyrone and Sperrins region paints a picturesque scene filled with wide-open spaces and unspoilt natural beauty, providing the perfect backdrop for a weekend of relaxing rambling.

Rolling hills and lush river valleys entice walkers to immerse themselves in the tranquil settings and marvel at the breathtaking views.

Recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1989, the beauty of Sperrins continues to blossom, providing postcard-perfect views at the end of any trail you take.

Here's seven ways to surround yourself with serenity in the Sperrins:

1. Stay the weekend at The Clock Tower on Baronscourt Estate in Omagh and delve into the soothing atmosphere of the area, which is rich in history and heritage. Dating from the 1890s, the Clock Tower forms part of the Baronscourt Stable Yard, in the Duke of Abercorn's family estate.

The old stone building is nestled in a sheltered valley at the foothills of the Sperrins, offering a hidden spot for rest and relaxation.

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The Clock Tower

Welcoming walkers, anglers and golfers alike, the Clock Tower provides the perfect location for those wishing to indulge in the peacefulness of the surrounding landscape.

2. Once settled, travel less than half an hour to arrive at the western gateway to the Sperrins, Gortin Glen Forest Park. The Ulster Way passes through the forest, which is perfect for mountain biking.

For those who prefer a more sedate pace, stop to admire the majestic carved sculpture, featuring larch, red cedar and oak and inspired by its natural surroundings.

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Rising proudly from the sculpture's centre, a family of red deer represent the Forest Park's abundance of wildlife. Complete with a wheelchair-friendly boardwalk, bridge and atrium, the centrepiece allows you to explore the surrounding natural landscape from a number of perspectives.

3. For a spot of lunch, journey on to The Kitchen, situated on Castle Street, Omagh, less than a 15-minute drive away. With local artwork adorning the walls and a roaring fire to unwind by, The Kitchen allows for a well-earned pit-stop. With a wealth of locally sourced dishes to awaken your taste buds, you can fully recharge before continuing your journey through Sperrins country.

4. If you enjoy connecting with your surroundings through local flavours and aromas, try a food and mindfulness tour. Begin by exploring the vegetable garden at Butterlope Farm with its local flora expert, enjoying scones and foraged jam, before setting out.

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Gortin Lakes

5. Admire the archaeological features of the Sperrins landscape as you amble through the tranquil Glenelly Valley to a delicious farmhouse lunch featuring organic produce and yet more foraged treats. Afterwards, connect with nature on a mindfulness walk through the lush green fields of the farm, leading to Bradkeel Forest. Take things slowly, breathing in the fresh air and exploring nature with all your senses.

6. Venture from Omagh across the foothills of the Sperrin Mountains towards Castledawson to stumble upon the original Ditty's Home Bakery. As the source of some of the island's best oatcake biscuits - perfect with local cheese - it also specialises in local Northern Ireland breads such as fluffy soda farls, wheaten breads and buns and scones - the perfect accompaniment to a mid-morning cup of tea.

7. Just a 20-minute drive from Gortin Glen Forest Park, Omagh's Ulster American Folk Park allows you to immerse yourself in the rich history of Irish emigration. Experience an adventure that takes you on a journey from Ulster's thatched cottages, on board a full-scale emigrant sailing ship, to arrive at the log cabins of the American Frontier. Complete your visit with local folk tales, traditional crafts and food.

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Hill of The O'Neill

8. Rest your feet at one of the most important sites in the history of Ireland, the Hill of The O'Neill. Learn how this was at the centre of a nine-year war that changed Ulster's landscape for ever. Take in 360-degree panoramic views of seven Ulster counties from the glass tower before immersing yourself in the beauty of the heritage park. Finish your visit with tea and homemade treats in the cafe.

9. End your weekend wanderings in the heart of Omagh at Foot Hills Bar & Restaurant, encapsulating the tranquillity of the surrounding scenery in its luxuriously peaceful restaurant.

Enjoy cuisine created using fresh, local produce, providing a truly immersive experience as you take in the flavours that accompany the stunning views.

For more scenic spots settled within the Sperrin Mountains, visit www.discovernorthernireland.com.

Belfast Telegraph

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