There is no better feeling than taking a brisk fresh walk to refresh the mind, body, and soul. It also helps to be surrounded by beautiful scenery, picturesque lakes, and the friendliest people in Ireland. Take a staycation to Cavan this Autumn and discover the best walks that the County has to offer. There are over 20 tracks and trails to be enjoyed whether you just want to go for a short 2km stroll or fancy a more challenging hike. Read on to hear about our top spots.
Let’s go for a stroll…
If your staycation is all about relaxing and taking things at a slower pace, then these are the perfect walks for you.
Turbet Island Moate and Bailey
Spend a while along the river Erne in Belturbet. This 1km looped walk takes in the old Moate and Bailey in Belturbet and features the Dreamscape trail. The Dreamscape trail is a wonderful outdoor art exhibition of prints and fairy sculptures that will remain on permanent display on Turbet Island. The trail features a series of 13 new prints by local artist Jackie O’Neill. Her illustrations are also in the bird boxes dotted around the walk.
Killykeen forest park
Situated on the shores of Lough Oughter which is part of the River Erne system. There are four signposted walks, and a family cycle trail in Killykeen Forest Park. The nature trail is 3 Km, access for all trail is 500 metres, the Gartanoul shore walk is 2 Km and the Gartanoul Loop walk is 4.6 Km. Be sure to wear appropriate footwear when its wet. On a good day, make sure to take a picnic and watch the kayakers float by on their way to Clough Oughter Castle.
Castle Saunderson Demesne
Step back in time and stroll through the Castle loop at Castle Saunderson Demesne. Information panels will give you the varied and sometimes troubled history of the estate. The entire trail is approx. 2km long but if you prefer to drive into the estate, you can stroll the 0.5km loop around the Castle. Be sure to bring your camera for some epic shots.
Erica’s Fairy Forest
This magical Fairy Forest is dedicated to the memory of Erica Ní Draighneain, (2010-2016). A place full of wonder, and adventure. The walk is open all day, every day and is perfect for a stroll around for a coffee and a chat. If you have the kids with you then they will love the magic of this place- with fairies taking up residence in each tree! The path is wheelchair and buggy friendly.
Mullagh Hill walk
This is a steep 2km walk but worth it when you get to the top. On a good day, enjoy uninterrupted 360-degree views of the Cavan and neighbouring Meath countryside as well as Mullagh Lake. At the summit you will find a handy picnic table where you can sit and enjoy the views.
Nuns walk is in the grounds of Cavan County Museum in Ballyjamesduff. This wooded trail circles past the World War 1 Trench experience at the Museum. You will find information boards placed along the walk giving you the natural heritage and social history of the area. This is a short 2km walk with a coffee shop, WW1 Trench Experience and GPO outdoor experience also available.
Put the walking shoes on….
Ballyconnell Canal Walk
This canal shore and forest path walk is perfect for an Autumn stroll, especially when the leaves are turning their crimson golden colours. Starting and finishing at the scenic village of Ballyconnell, this great looped trail sweeps into a landscape that mixes silky waters with a woodland of oak, ash, and beech. This 6km route is a must visit.
The Bawnboy Loop is in the village of Bawnboy at the southern foot of Slieve Rushen in West Cavan and inside the Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark. This loop is 5 Km in length. Follow the blue way markers on this walk through the forest which starts with a steady climb of 130 metres up to a viewing area, where you can see down to Brackley Lough and beyond. There are a network of roads and paths which offer scenic views of the surrounding landscape.
Castle Lake Walk
You have an option of doing a 4 or 7km looped walk here. The loop begins and ends at the car park on the lakeshore and takes you around Castle Lake, with some fine views and interesting sites along the way, including a memorial to those who died at Rebel Hill in 1798. The longer loop takes you by the graves of the Marist brothers who occupied Bailieborough Castle. Treat yourself to lunch or dinner in Baileborough once you’ve finished.
Deerpark forest walk
Another beautiful lakeshore and forest walk situated just outside the pretty town of Virginia. This is a 5km looped walk and there are many built heritage features to be found in the forest. The best examples which are along the golden way heritage trail and include, Toberpatrick Well, Ladys cottage, Castle boat house, and the metal and stone bridges.
Dun a Rí forest park
This is one of the most romantic walks in Cavan. The “Romantic Glen” of the Cabra River, stretching the full length of the park, is an area steeped in history and legend. It is said that Cúchulainn camped here at night while by day conducting his single-handed defence of Ulster against the armies of Maeve. Discover the wishing well, Cabra Cottage, Cabra Village and so much more. Take the walking link past the GAA grounds in Kingscourt and choose from the Nature Trail, Village Walk, or River Walk. Be warned, you may want to spend the entire day here- so bring a packed lunch.
On a clear day you can see three provinces from Flemings Folly. This is a 5km out and back scenic walk. Fleming’s folly is a historic tower overlooking Ballinagh with stunning views of the countryside. Check out our recent blog post here for more information.
Killashandra Lake and forest walk
Killashandra is a destination in itself. Situated in the heart of the UNESCO Geopark and surrounded by beautiful lakes famous for their Pike, Trout and Coarse fishing. This 6km looped walk is perfect to get away from it all. This peaceful loop threads its way on lakeshore paths, forestry roads, grassy paths and minor road through a lovely low-lying lakeshore landscape covered in woodland of mixed broadleaf and coniferous trees.
Take a trek up to Fionn McCumhaill’s fingers on Shantenom Hill. The giant is said to be sleeping beneath your feet up here. The row of stones lies on a small plateau in a deforested plantation not far from the top of the hill. Make sure to bring the camera!
Pack a lunch and spend the day…
If you prefer to spend the entire day walking, and trekking is your passion then be sure to visit us in Cavan for some of the best long walks and hikes in the Country.
Cavan Burren Park
Cavan Burren Park is in the Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark and there are numerous sites to visit. Take a trip to the visitor centre first to discover all there is to do in the area. There are 5 amazing trails to take around the park including the Calf house Dolmen trail, the giants leap trail, the promontory fort trail, the Tullygobbin Lough trail, and the Cavan waymarked trail. You can also visit the Market House tourist office in Blacklion for more information on the park.
The Cavan Way
The Cavan way is a 26km linear walk that takes you from the beautiful village of Dowra to Blacklion in West Cavan. The route takes in Shannon pot where Irelands longest river rises, and the Cuilcagh Mountains Limestone landscape. This truly is a beautiful walk and the perfect way to spend an entire day in the great outdoors. Walking boots are the best foot attire here and bring plenty of water and food.
Killykeen way greenway
The new Killykeen way greenway can be cycled or walked and takes in the beautiful Killykeen forest park, the pleasure lake and town lake in Killeshandra before looping back towards Killykeen. This 12km loop is perfect for a weekend ramble. Start at Killykeen forest park or Killeshandra, pack a lunch and enjoy this off road experience.
Lough an Leagh
This 7km walk is located between the towns of Kingscourt and Baileborogh. On a clear day you can see up to 14 counties from the summit. You can take Adrian’s Way looped or linear walk and experience the amazing views along the way. Walking boots are advised. For more information on this walk visit the website here.
Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark
Home to the famous Cuilcagh Legnabrocky trail or Stairway to Heaven. This 14km out and back walk should be on your bucket list. The Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark encompasses so many trails and walks and a full day should be given to explore as many as you can.
Sean Eamon Ruari trail
Another trail part of the Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark. This 7km trek affords views of preserved, rugged Irish landscape, old fields that have stood the test of time and abandoned farmhouses that will have you feeling like you’ve stepped back into the past, you’ll never be disappointed with this hidden gem. The trail takes you through to the uplands of Glangevlin, and past many sites of historical significance.
You will be spoiled for choice when visiting Cavan for a walk this Autumn. Why not stay in the night in one of our many accommodation providers, take in the beautiful treats that await you in our restaurants and cafes, or discover more adventure right on our doorstep. This is adventure, this is discovery…. This is Cavan!
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