Forests help to slow down climate change and there are over 100 forests you can visit in Northern Ireland. Public facilities are continually improved with better play areas for children and waymarked off-road cycling/ walking trails for a wide range of users including those with disabilities. Some have camping facilities.
Watch the video below to see the improvements that you can enjoy in Garvagh Forest, Gortin Glen Forest Park near Omagh, Gosford Forest Park near Markethill and Hillsborough Forest.
Garvagh Forest on the outskirts of Garvagh now has a network of cycle trails of varying degrees of difficulty and includes over 8 miles of red cycle trails for cyclists who like a challenge. The paths have been improved for walkers of all ages.
At Gortin Glen Forest Park near Omagh the visitor experience has been greatly improved with a network of 5 waymarked trails from easy to extreme for walkers, cyclists or mountain bikers. The playpark includes equipment suited to children with disabilities and the café and education building have been refurbished for schools, youth and scouting groups to enjoy.
Gosford Forest Park outside Markethill in County Armagh has a 16 km trail network made of 4 trails for walkers, cyclists and adventure sports. Includes a trail for wheelchair users and those with limited mobility. The outdoor play area for children has equipment suited to children with disabilities.
At Hillsborough Forest the children’s playpark includes equipment suited to children with disabilities. Pathways have been widened for prams and wheelchairs and there are six viewing platforms with seating to enjoy views of the lake and the wildlife.
Forests in Northern Ireland have much to offer including walking, cycling, camping, caravanning and touring facilities, horse riding and you can organise events and activities in forests. To find forests to visit in your area, go to public forests in Northern Ireland
There are maps, apps, guides and booklets with information about various walks, trails and activities to enjoy in forests. More about this at walking in forests.
You can cycle in some of the public forests in Northern Ireland and enjoy mountain biking or leisure cycling. Find out which forests you can cycle in.
Some forests offer camping in a tent, caravan, motorhome, campervan, folding caravan or trailer tent, they include Castlewellan Forest Park, Drum Manor Forest Park, Glenariff Forest Park and Tollymore Forest Park. These are well-equipped long stay sites where visitors can stay for up to 14 nights depending on availability.
Touring in the Trees annual permits allow you to stay at nine touring caravan sites where you can explore the forests and surrounding countryside. These forest sites are reserved for annual permit holders only. You cannot stay for longer than three nights in a row at one site.
Find out more at camping and touring sites in forests.
Northern Ireland’s forests offer a variety of horse riding opportunities.
To arrange a special event or activity in a forest managed by Forest Service in Northern Ireland, you may need to get a licence.