Set off from the car park and pedal down toward the lake, where the route is waymarked every 300 yards by green discs with a white bicycle in the centre. The trail is on wide forest track with well compacted stone and is carefully maintained, with no overhanging branches or obstructions. Occasionally the path may be re-routed for essential maintenance, remember, this is a working forest. By and large, it's a flat easy cycle with one gentle slope on the north side of the lake.
Castlewellan Forest Park is set among the magnificent Mourne Mountains, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and has lots to offer. From the cycle route there are splendid views of Castlewellan Castle, built in 1856, very much a focal point within the estate. Along the route you can pull in and investigate the Ice House, an early form of refrigeration, and the delightful Autumn Wood just below the Castle on the return leg. When finished, the wonderful Peace Maze above the main car park, should keep everyone baffled and entertained for another hour.
Public roads: Off Public Road
Getting to the start: From Belfast take the A24 towards Newcastle and turn off at Clough Village onto the A25 road to Newry. Castlewellan town is approximately 8 kilometres from this junction and the Forest Park entrance is signposted off the main street.
Traffic: May encounter Forest Service vehicles or timber lorries. During the fishing season (March to November) may also encounter cars belonging to anglers
Point of interest:Castlewellan Forest Park
Terrain:Trail is on well maintained forest walking paths.
Route:The trail is signposted from the car park with a red arrow. The initial part of the trail follows the former stagecoach route known locally as the Crow Road where striking views of the northern Mourne Mountains can be glimpsed before reaching Castlewellan Lake.
Trail features -
Steps, gullies, tree roots
Moderate gradient (1:4)
Generally undefined edges
Broken surface material
Some rest areas at regular intervals
Way-finding markers at trails junctions
Distance 'To Go' markers at trail junctions
This walk is situated in a working forest environment and may be subject to diversion and closure from time to time.
Up to date information is available on the Forest Service web site - link below.
Facilities:Forest Park facilities include car, minibus and coach parking, fully accessible toilets and The Grange cafe. Please note the cafe is open at weekends from Easter to end of June and throughout September. Open daily during July and August.
Accessible toilet facilities:Yes
Accessible terrain:Flat forest paths
Publication:Castlewellan Forest Park Family Cycling Trail Card, Forest Service
Publication availability:Contact Castlewellan Forest Park on 028 43778664
Accessibility information:Disabled access parking for cars, minibuses and coaches is available at the main car park and car parking only at the smaller lake side car park. The toilets are immediately adjacent to the main car park.
Getting to the start by public transport:From Castlewellan the forest is signposted from Main Street.