Big Dog Forest Walk is part of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark. Big Dog Forest is 1,000 hectares in size and is cloaked largely with conifers. This beautiful short walk allows you to explore some of Fermanagh’s best upland landscapes, and the forest is inhabited by wildlife as varied as red deer, herons and dragonflies. This is a truly special spot offering a great day out for the family.
Distance:2.5 miles miles
Point of interest:Possibly the most intriguing features along the walk are the two hills Big Dog and Little Dog. Their names originate from Irish Folklore as they are named after Bran and Skeola (Sceolan), two of the legendary Finn Mac Cool’s favourite wolfhounds.
Getting to the start by car:If travelling from Enniskillen, travel out along the B81 to Derrygonnelly and turn left at the end of the main street. Take the Garrison Road via Knockmore and head into the hills. Approximately 10km from Derrygonnelly, take the lane on the right signposted for Big Dog car park.
From Belcoo take the Garrison Road, approximately 11km turn right at the Cashel Cross Roads; continue along the country lane, after 8 km take the lane on the left signposted for Big Dog car park.
OS map:Sheet 17
Terrain:All types of terrain
Route:From the car park, follow the black route as indicated by the way marked posts. The walk takes you along forest tracks, before opening out to bisect Lough Nabrickboy, providing magnificent views of this upland lake. There is a picnic area here where you can enjoy a little feast before meandering through the forest to skirt the shoreline of Lough Doo. Pause a moment amidst the tranquility of this south facing shoreline before moving on. Travel back towards Lough Nabrickboy before taking in Little Dog on your right. One of the highlights of this route is the short but rewarding climb to the top of Little Dog, offering great 360 degree views of the surrounding area. Return back towards the car park following the way marked posts.
Please note: This Forest is managed sustainably by NI Forest Service. This walk is situated in a working forest environment and may be subject to diversions and closure from time to time.
Facilities:Car parking and picnic area available, nearest amenities Derrygonnelly.
Accessible terrain:Conditions likely to be encountered:
Steps, gullies, fences, streams, boulders, severe gradients, undefined edges, overhanging branches, some rest areas, way-finding markers at trail junctions.
Wheelchair access is not possible due to path gradients.
Accessible signage:Walk information panel, route way marked.
Publication:Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark: Forest Walks Booklet.