Glenariff Forest Park
Glenariff Forest Park is one of the lesser known UK country parks. It is located in one of the most beautiful parts of Northern Ireland, in the glens of Antrim. It is nearly 3,000 acres in size and boasts some wonderful scenery. County Antrim has 9 glens, and Glenariff is perhaps the most beautiful.
In case you are wondering what a “glen” is, here is the answer. “Glen” is a Gaelic or Celtic word meaning “valley”.
Local and international visitors have been flocking to the area for many years and when you visit Northern Ireland chances are you will go there as well since County Antrim is host to such well known sites as Giants Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and other beautiful and historic places (see our Antrim Coast tour).
It is a waterfall glen in that it has several small waterfalls from the two rivers that run through it, the Inver and the Glenariff. Glenariff Forest Park is a good place for camping, one of the many camping sites UK, caravanning and hiking, or even just for a day out and a picnic. So put it on your “to visit” list. It has beautifully wooded areas with a large variety of trees.
Trails in the Park
If you like hiking there are three trails that you should consider. The shortest at 1 km (0.6 miles) is the Viewpoint trail that begins at the car park and gives you some lovely vistas of the glen and the sea in the distance. Somewhat more demanding is the Waterfall trail at 3 km (nearly 2 miles). This is a spectacular walk that takes you past some of the near vertical sides of the gorge and past some of the lovely waterfalls. The Waterfall trail also has a small optional detour that will take you over the rainbow bridge and will add a little over half a km (0.3 miles) to the overall length of the trail.
Most demanding (and rewarding) is the Scenic trail. You get the best views with this trail all the way to Mull of Kintyre in Scotland on a clear day. But there is a winding climb involved (not too steep) and it is quite long at nearly 9 km (a little under 6 miles) so before you decide to take this path make sure you are fit enough for it.
Caravanning and Camping
Strategically located in the Antrim glens, Glenariff Forest Park is one of the more scenic caravanning and camping sites UK. It can be an ideal base for touring the attraction-rich area. Camping and caravanning charges are reasonable.
For more information on the park, facilities and activities visit their website