Top five places to walk around Lough Neagh
In the heart of Northern Ireland lies Lough Neagh, the largest lake in the British Isles. Captivating with its tranquil atmosphere, unspoilt scenery, secluded bays and skyward views, there is so much to be discovered. And what better way to discover this remarkable treasure than with a unique walking route. With a circumference of just over one hundred miles, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best places to walk around Lough Neagh.
This half mile walk will take you through a small wet woodland on the shores of Lough Neagh. Boasting a wealth of wildlife easily viewed from the woodland path, this woodland walk is the perfect introduction to the lough neagh area. Expect to see mute swan, whooper swan, bewick swan, great crested grebes and tufted duck.
Reas Wood is a casual 3 mile walk that extends along part of the shore of Lough Neagh. It is a great example of a wet woodland and has a rich diversity of wildlife to see. The path will eventually form part of the Lough Neagh Cycle Way and a shared pedestrian and cycle path will help you explore.
Randalstown Forest is a 2 and a half mile off road trail. This mixed conifer forest contains an owl conservation centre, Deer Park, and several walking routes, with two small adjacent Nature Reserves at the forest edge on the shores of Lough Neagh.
Lough Neagh is an internationally important location for breeding and wintering wildfowl. A major refuge area has been established in the north east corner of the lough to protect these birds. A small, 10 hectare, deer enclosure has been constructed. Within the enclosure, 20 to 25 fallow deer are retained, providing an excellent opportunity to quietly observe them from a raised wooden platform overlooking the enclosure. The southern end of the forest extends to the edge of Lough Neagh. The very steep bank at the edge of the forest marks the old shoreline of the Lough. Nearer the water’s edge, younger woodland dominated by willow and alder illustrates the colonisation of land exposed only 30 ago.
Peatlands Park is a wonderfully unique park with a rich variety of wildlife and habitat. Whilst the park has over 10 miles of paths leading visitors throughout the park’s beautiful scenery, the diverse wildlife is what really sets it apart. With creatures ranging from moths and butterflies to squirrels and badgers and even some lizards, Peatlands Park is one of the best places to experience one of Northern Ireland’s most unique ecosystems.
The beautifully landscaped Lurgan Park, the second largest public park in Ireland, contains a number of well maintained paths which provide excellent walking and running ground.
So now you’ve discovered the hidden gems of Lough Neagh, it’s time to get your walking shoes on and get exploring.