Belfast Telegraph

Walk of the Week: Cloghmore

By Linda Stewart

Nestling beneath the Mournes, the impressive 4,000-acre Rostrevor Forest rises sharply from 30m to 500m above sea level. This walk sets off from the Cloghmore car park, which lies some 230m above sea level and provides views of the surrounding forest.

Walkers can choose from three waymarked trails, which vary in length from 1.25 miles to 4.5 miles and take the visitor to various areas within the forest to enjoy the many magnificent views and beauty of the woodlands.

Directions

From Rostrevor follow the signs to Rostrevor Forest & Kilbroney. Once inside the forest, drive along the tarmac road uphill to the second car park (located 230m above sea level). This is accessed via a one-way system. The lower car park in Kilbroney Park has accessible toilets and a café.

From the car park, pass the interpretative panels and follow the black arrowed waymarkers up the steep hill to the Cloghmore Stone. Keep on the left-hand path.

You cannot miss the ‘Big Stone' (Cloc Mor), which is at the top on your left-hand side. The local legend tells us that the giant stone was tossed across Carlingford Lough from the Cooley Mountains during a fight between the legendary Irish giant Finn McCool and his arch rival Ruscaire, the Ice Giant.

From the top car park and from the Big Stone, there are spectacular views of the Mourne Mountains, Carlingford Lough and the Cooley peninsula.

You can either retrace your steps back to the car park or you can follow the circular walk. Just follow the black arrowed waymarkers — from the Stone, go back approximately 150m and follow the path that veers to the left. It goes down very steeply. You will reach a stone parapet, from which you can enjoy the beautiful views over Rostrevor, Warrenpoint and Carlingford Lough.

Go right and follow the path, staying on the upper path. The route will bring you back to the car park where you started.

The backdrop

Lying at the southern entrance to the Mournes is the picturesque village of Rostrevor, an area of historical interest and folklore. Features include St Bronagh's 6th Century church and bell and Giant Murphy's grave.

The village has a number of beautiful walkways through Rostrevor Forest and Kilbroney Park.

As a backdrop to Kilbroney Park stands Rostrevor Forest, rising to 500m above sea level. Planted in 1931 with mostly coniferous species, the forest harbours a breathtaking two-mile forest drive providing panoramic views over Carlingford Lough, an old oak plantation dating from the 18th century, the famous 40-tonne Cloghmore or ‘Big Stone’ and a host of animals ranging from Irish jays to pine martens, red squirrels, foxes and badgers.

The park offers a wide range of facilities and services, which include tennis courts, children’s play area, playing fields, an arboretum, barbecue and picnic areas and café.

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 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: Rostrevor, Cloghmore Stone.

Area: Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Nearest big town to start point: Rostrevor.

Distance: 1.3 miles.

Time: This is quite a strenuous linear walk. Walkers should leave more than an hour to walk up to Cloghmore Stone, enjoy the views and descend back to the car park.

Terrain: This walk is on off-road paths that are very steep in places. There is a gate at the start of the walk and this walk is not suitable for those with limited mobility.

Access Restrictions: These walks are situated in a working forest environment and may be subject to diversion and closure from time to time. Check the Forest Service NI web site for updated information: forestserviceni.gov.uk.

Refreshments: Picnic facilities, refreshments, children’s play areas and toilets are available at Kilbroney park (in the lower car park).

Walk Developed By: Rostrevor Forest is owned and managed by DARD Forest Service. Kilbroney Park is owned and managed by Newry and Mourne District Council.

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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