Tollymore Forest Park (sometimes mistakenly called Tullymore) is one of N. Ireland’s premier forests and parks. In 2000 it was listed by the Sunday Times newspaper among the top 20 picnic sites in the UK. Located at the foot of the scenic Mourne Mountains and very close to the bustling town of Newcastle, County Down, the Park is a favorite destination for locals and visitors alike.
The earliest mention of Tollymore comes from 1611 when the Maguinness family received a grant of land in the area from King James I. By 1798 it passed to the Earls of Roden. They in turn sold it to the Department of Agriculture in two phases in 1930 and 1941 who retain ownership until now. Some of the features of the park were designed by Thomas Wright, the eccentric English mathematician, astronomer and garden designer.
Tollymore Forest Park covers an area of nearly 630 hectares, it is a large park. Parts of it are woodland and parts grassland. Many locals come here on weekends for a picnic, especially with the onset of good weather towards the end of spring and the beginning of the summer. On a Sunday it can get very busy but the park is large enough that you will have plenty of space to enjoy. Barbeques abound and the large and fairly flat grass areas are ideal for an impromptu game of soccer (European football), cricket or simply for throwing the Frisbee. We went several times with friends and always enjoyed it.
For ramblers and lovers of the hills and the forests Tollymore Forest Park has four walking trails the longest of which is 8 miles long (13 km). The woodland apart from indigenous varieties of trees has a collection of imported species that were brought in to enhance the appeal of the Park. Some of the trees were used for the wooden interiors of the Titanic which was built in Belfast.
The Park offers extensive caravanning facilities with 92 touring pitches. There are good shower and toilet facilities, chemical toilet disposal points, electricity points, fresh water supply as well as laundry facilities. The prices are reasonable and the location ideal for exploring the County Down coast.
Tollymore Mountain Centre
If you are more serious about life outdoors why not contact the Tollymore Mountain Centre? They have a good team of experienced instructors who offer courses in Mountaineering, Canoesport, First Aid and more. The Centre offers good quality accommodation facilities.
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