Glenariff - Queen of the Glens!
Glenariff Glen also known as ‘The Queen of the Glens’ is one of the world famous Nine Glens of Antrim and unarguably the most beautiful of them all. This dramatic glacial glen and forest park covers an area over 1000 hectares. I have loved and enjoyed Glenariff since I was a small child. It is a special place I have grown up visiting regularly and have delighted in sharing with Johnny, our children, and friends. We would encourage you to spend some time exploring its natural beauty and experience the breath-taking scenery that will not disappoint.
The Forest Park is open to the public every day of the year from 10.00am until sunset and includes onsite parking. Admission charges are displayed at the entrance to the Park. If you prefer and intend to make use of the Laragh Lodge Tea Rooms for lunch or dinner you can park down at the bottom of the glen in the restaurant car park and access the trails from there. There is no charge in this car park, but it can be a tight squeeze when it gets busy. This restaurant was built over 100 years ago and nestles beside one of the two spectacular waterfalls, Ess-na-Crub. The other waterfall, Ess-na-Larach is a five-minute walk from the Laragh Lodge restaurant.
The Park caters for many outdoor activities, walking with 4 way-marked trails, horse riding routes and touring (guided tours can be booked in advance). There are picnic and barbeque areas, a gift shop, café and toilet facilities, all located close to the main visitors’ centre. There are disabled facilities and if you have any special needs arising from a disability the Forest Service will be happy to help where they can. The timber walkway that winds through the glen and alongside the river gorge was first built around 100 years ago. This walkway and other boardwalks on stilts have been carefully reconstructed and repaired to provide spectacular walks rivalled by few others.
The four way-marked trails are of varying lengths and wind through the forest leading you into some of the Forest Parks most beautiful wooded and scenic areas. Walking alongside the river deep within the gorge you will find magnificent prehistoric ferns, succulent mosses, liverworts and statuesque spruce trees and conifers. The variety of lichen and mosses are testament to the purity of the air. Your senses are heightened by the fragrant scent of nature. The sound of the water thundering down the waterfalls and over the boulders in the river is in stark contrast to the gentle dripping of water droplets falling from the lush vegetation and to the fine sparkling mists hanging in the air around you.
As you ascend from the forest floor up through the trees onto the sides of the glen it’s not hard to imagine you are a bird or one of the golden eagles I remember as a child soaring up and out of the treetops. The scenery that you now behold is spectacular especially from the ‘viewpoint’ and ‘scenic trails’ where you can look down the glen to the sea in the distance and beyond to the Scottish coastline and the Mull of Kintyre. Worries and stresses are blown away by the gentle breezes or sometimes gusting winds. Wildlife lives in abundance on the wild Garron Plateau and to be a part of it even for a short time is good for the soul. There are many other walking opportunities that link the surrounding countryside to Glenariff. The Glenravel Environmental Improvement Association has created a circular 15km walk through the forest onto the Garron Plateau at Dungonnell Dam and into Cargan village, returning via Binvore into the north-western part of Glenariff. www.antrim.net/glenravel
The Moyle Way is another of the Waymarked Walks initiated by the N.I. Countryside Access and Activities Network. It runs for 30km between Ballycastle and Glenariff. www.countrysiderecreation.com
The diversity of topography woodland and habitats found within Glenariff Forest Park provide us with an area of outstanding natural beauty in which we can all walk and enjoy the spectacular scenery and benefit from the tranquillity of this very special place.
For further information and for bookings contact:
The Forester in Charge
6 Forest Rd,
Postcode for Satnav Glenariff BT44 0QX