Start Point:H129 356
Finish Point:H129 356
Point of interest:Florence Court, Cuilcagh Mountain, Marble Arch Caves
Getting to the start by car:The site is signposted from the Florencecourt-Belcoo Road.
Terrain:Rough mountain terrain
Route:** Please note that the summit of Cuilcagh Mountain is currently closed due to health and safety concerns. A new route that takes in the summit is being designed. The route is closed in a clockwise direction from the parking area for Cuilcagh Mountain Park (H121335), to the junction of the route with the path from Gortalughany Viewpoint (H158309), until further notice **
**Please note that waymarking for this route in Florencecourt Forest, is not in place at present, but will be installed in the near future.**
(Total Distance – 3.3km Highest Point – 175m)
The Cuilcagh Way begins in the car park at Cladagh Bridge. Cross the stone stile or pass through the wooden gate and follow the wide stone path into Cladagh Glen. Go through the next wooden kissing gate to enter Marble Arch National Nature Reserve. The path follows the Cladagh River taking you to a series of steep wooden steps to the left of the arch from which Marble Arch Caves takes its name. At the top of the wooden steps (121 in total) is a concrete path, which leads you through two kissing gates to Marble Arch Visitor Centre. The route then follows the tarred avenue to Marlbank Loop Road. Go right for 340m along the Loop and then left into Cuilcagh Mountain Park.
Cuilcagh Mountain Park
(Total Distance - 4.2km Highest Point – 395m)
From the Mountain Park car park, the route leads towards the flat, tabletop summit of Cuilcagh Mountain. Crossing over five stiles, the walk takes you up a long stony track that climbs for 4km (2.5 miles). As you ascend, take time to admire the wonderful vistas behind you.
Cuilcagh Mountain (Legnabrocky Track)
(Total Distance - 7.2km Highest point – 665m)
From the end of the track follow the yellow-topped fence posts to the summit of the mountain. The ground can be extremely marshy and the ascent, in parts, very steep. Once on top you will discover magnificent, 360° sweeping views that, on clear days, can reach counties Tyrone, Donegal, Cavan, Leitrim, Sligo and Roscommon. If the weather is particularly favourable you might even catch a glimpse of the Nephin Beg mountain range in County Mayo. From the triangulation pillar the Way initially zigzags down a very steep slope to the base of the summit, and then across upland blanked bog. At times you might feel as though you are walking on water! After a while the ground becomes drier underfoot and you soon come to the steep valley slopes at Legacurragh.
(Total Distance – 6.7km Highest Point 310m)
The next section crosses relatively dry land and takes you past a cairn and ancient burial site at Myalla, known locally as the Giant’s Grave. From here the Way passes through thick heather before entering the tree cover offered by a forest of Sitka spruce, lodgepole pine and larch. After a short, uneven section, a hard-surfaced lane takes you through Cove Wood to a wider stone lane coming downhill, around a number of sweeping bends to a T-junction. Turning right, you pass Glen Wood Forest Nature Reserve before making a left on to a much narrower path which weaves its way through Florence Court Forest and Cottage Wood, in part alongside and occasionally over a number of small streams. When you come to a number of other paths and tracks follow the Cuilcagh Way signposts to the main tarred avenue leading to Florence Court House. Cross the avenue and follow the path leading to the left taking you to the Forest Service car park.
Florence Court Forest
(Total Distance 7.2km - Highest Point – 270m)
From the Forest Service car park, follow the pathway towards Florence Court House. Along the way you can explore the exquisite gardens that appear on your right, but these are not on the official route. Continue on by following the way-markers towards the National Trust car and coach park, turning left before you reach it and continue along the rear of the mansion, past the Carpenter’s Shop and Saw Mill. You soon re-enter the forest and, following forest tracks, will come to a farm lane passing alongside a wonderful karst outcrop. At the end of the lane the Way crosses open farmland (you will have to use stiles to cross some fences) until you reach the bottom of Gortmaconnell Rock where the route once again meets up with Marlbank Loop Road.
(Total Distance – 4.7km Highest Point 195m)
Turn left up Marlbank Loop Road and, taking care from passing traffic, continue until you return to the main avenue leading to Marble Arch Caves. Turn right onto the avenue and, passing the Caves Visitor Centre, return via Cladagh Glen to your start point at Cladagh Bridge.
Facilities:Car park available at Florence Court, Cladagh Glen and Marble Arch Caves