A short circular trail within the grounds of the Beech Hill Country House Hotel suitable for users with all abilities.
Start Point:C467 137
Finish Point:C467 137
Terrain:Flat wide paths
Point of interest:Pond, Kennedy-Skipton Coats of Arms, Lime Tree Avenue
Facilities:Hotel, Restaurant, Toilets, Car Park
Getting to the start by car:Along the main A6 Londonderry to Belfast road take the turning off at Faughan Bridge (Beech Hill signage at the bottom of the hill). Travel a mile further to Ardmore Chapel. You will see the Hotel entrance on your left, opposite the Chapel.
Route:Follow the yellow waymarker disks that say ‘O’Cahan Trail’ from the trail head which is located at the western end of the Hotel car park. The trail flows in an anti clockwise direction, leading you past the Kennedy–Skipton Coat of arms and the top pond. The arms in the top-right corner belong to the Kennedy Family and consist of three small crosses. The Kennedy crest is a dolphin. The arms in the top-left corner belong to the Skipton family and consist of an anchor with a bird sitting on it; the Skipton crest is a raised arm holding a dagger. The motto Pro Patria belongs to the Skiptons. Follow the waymarker leading to the left of the top pond. The Gate Lodge, Walled Garden and Stone Arch can be seen from here. The Arch is reputed to be the site of the first house at Ballyshaskey built by Alexander Skipton in 1622. This house was burnt down in the rebellion of the 1640s. The walled garden dates from before 1833 and is gradually being restored to supply the hotel with fresh vegetables and fruit.
Continue to follow the trail crossing the top pond bridge. The trail then weaves its way through the woodland to emerge onto the Lime and Beech Tree Avenue. This is the original carriage avenue and in 1835, was "formed by several rows of old lime trees which render it peculiar in this country and very interesting". Today there are also beech trees in the avenue. Continue to follow the avenue back to the Hotel.
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