A woodland walk exploring Hawthorn Hill Nature Reserve within Slieve Gullion Forest Park.
In 2014, The Giants Lair Play trail was developed in the Nature Reserve. It is is a magical living storybook brought to life through a trail of intertwined fairy houses and arts features creating a childhood land with dragons, giants and fairies. The Giants Lair is inspired by legend and mythical folklore on over a mile of woodlands at Slieve Gullion Forest Park.
There are magnificent views of the Ring of Gullion mountains including Croslieve, Slievebrack and Mullaghbane Mountains from the path.
Point of interest:Walled garden and pond in the adjacent Courtyard
Nearest town:Forkhill, Meigh, Dromintee
OS map:Sheet 29
Terrain:Undulating woodland trail
Route:The walk starts and finishes in the car park adjacent to the Slieve Gullion Courtyard Centre in Slieve Gullion Forest Park.
Follow the path uphill at the side of the children's play park. Keep to the left and continue straight uphill through deciduous woodland for about 750m until arriving at a forest track with a log bench on the right hand side of the path.
From this point magnificent views can be had of the Ring of Gullion Hills near Forkhill.
Keeping to the right, continue on the path back in to the woodland. The path continues for 850m, first uphill, before descending directly to the car park and start point.
All along the route, children can follow in the footsteps of fairies, play in the shadows of Slieve Gullion the sleeping giant, drop in for a cup of dandelion tea, grab a seat at the Giant Table, stroll along to the Ladybird House and sneak a peek at local witch. A magical route for all the family.
These walks are 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.
Opening times – Giant’s Lair and Adventure Playpark
1st April to the last weekend in October – 8am until 9pm
Last weekend in October to 31st March – 8am until 4pm
Facilities:Grounded Café, the Visitor Information Office and toilets are all situated in the Slieve Gullion Courtyard. The café, and toilets have disabled access from the carpark.
The car park can accommodate 120 cars (8 disabled parking bays), and has space for four 50 seater buses. Do drive and park with caution as there may be small children, fairies and trolls about. You can call ahead to Grounded café to book large groups on 028 3084 9786.
The Adventure Playpark, Giant’s Lair, Carpark, and Courtyard will be staffed during opening hours by a partnership of organisations. You can ask staff in high visibility clothing for any extra information, and they are all trained in First Aid for your safety.
Accessible toilet facilities:Yes
Accessible terrain:Graded off-road path, moderately steep in places both going up an down.
Accessible signage:Information panel at start indicating route.
Publication:Ring of Gullion Waymarked Way Guide.
Publication availability:Contact Newry Tourist Office 028 3031 3170, or alternatively, download available on this webpage.
Getting to the start by public transport:Bus Service No 43 from Newry passes the Forest Park entrance. See link below for Translink.
Getting to the start by car:From Newry take the Dublin Road until the Cloghoge Roundabout (2km). Travel on the B113 towards Forkhill, for approximately 5km past Meigh until the sign for Slieve Gullion Forest Park on the right hand side of the road just before Drumintee. Follow the drive past the Courtyard Centre to the car park which is the start and finish of the walk (GR J042196).