Walking in Northern Ireland – Lough Navar!
By ELEANOR MCGILLIE 20 March, 2017
When you want to go on a roadtrip or indeed walking in Northern Ireland, you really want to see something pretty fabulous at the end of it all. Lough Navar Forest Scenic Drive will not disappoint. Eleanor McGillie went to Live It Experience It at this County Fermanagh panoramic viewpoint
I’ll admit it was a bit of a whim but sometimes that’s the best way when you want to get out of the house and go walking in Northern Ireland.
When we left County Tyrone and travelled up through the sweeping Clogher Valley to the lakeland county of Fermanagh, the dull, grey clouds remained in the rear view mirror as we drove into brilliant sunshine in clear blue skies.
Passing up through Enniskillen and heading for the Lough Shore Road, we really had no idea where we were going or what we would do when we got there.
Ely Lodge Forest Trail
But with so much beauty to our right we decided to stop at the Red Squirrel Trail at Ely Lodge Forest. It’s easy! Parking, picnic tables and stunning scenery.
What more can you ask for?
This 250 hectare forest is fantastic with so many walking routes to take around the shores of Lower Lough Erne which is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Ireland.
There’s so much beauty here which is well documented for visitors. Ely Lodge Forest got its name from the nearby Ely Lodge – one of two gate houses at the gates of the Ely Estate which was the largest in County Fermanagh during Victorian Times.
We walked for quite a bit – the paths are good. My little boy was able to ride his bicycle at ease so he was having a ball cycling round this expanse forest which is part of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark.
But after a walk and a bite to eat we made our way further along the Lough Shore Road and followed the signs for the Lough Navar Forest Scenic Route near Derrygonnelly.
Lough Navar Forest Scenic Route
A stunning drive takes us to the entrance of Lough Navar Forest Scenic Route and as soon as you enter this route you will be blown away by the beauty of this forest. Walkers, bikers, cyclists, skateboarders, families, hikers, naturists – whatever you are in to – you will fall in love with this great place.
Its beauty is staggering as you meander your way through the forest drive.
Full of lakes, peat bogs, picnic spots, exposed cliffs and views around County Fermanagh you would never have imagined existed. Our first stop was at Aghameelan Viewpoint. Just look at that picnic bench. Only we had munched our sandwiches at Ely Lodge Forest we would have been munching again. But this bench is for another time.
From this point there is a panoramic view of Fermanagh and Cavan. It is spectacular. And if you have never been here before at this point you will think you’ll have seen it all but trust me, the best is yet to come.
Drive, walk, cycle or run on up the route and you will come across Whiterocks and Lough Slawn. But further uphill, the becomes more rugged. But it’s here, at Magho Viewpoint that a beauty unfolds in front of your eyes. You will come out of the woods and into the clearing and you find yourself at the highest point on a sheer cliff edge looking down over the splendour of Lough Erne and all of its islands.
You actually do not want to leave.
It’s the most beautiful place I have ever been to and to think our journey started as a bit of a whim.
You are looking out at the sheer scale of the county Fermanagh lakes. To the east are the rounded Sperrin Mountains, to the north lie the Blue Stacks and to the west you can see Slieve League, Donegal Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
This is a destination to experience on a beautiful clear day, where the skies are blue, the sun is shining and you are able to stand in awe at how beautiful County Fermanagh is. My five year old son couldn’t believe it.
We met cyclists, walkers, a touring couple from Italy, a group of people from America and a lovely couple from the local area – Jenny and Nigel who stood with us and retold old stories told to them when they were children.
My tour of Fermanagh has just begun. Cliffs, nature reserves, caves, loughs, lakes, eco trails, waterfalls, forest hikes and wildlife – there’s plenty more to explore.
Thank you Fermanagh! We’ll definitely be back!
Live It Experience It’ is a group of journalists and travel writers who tell the story of our members. We work collaboratively with our members, which are tourism businesses, to promote Northern Ireland through water, air and land based activities, food and drink and great places to stay. Together we let our visitors know of all of the amazing things Northern Ireland has to offer. To become a member business in of ‘Live It Experience It’ call our office on 028 3756 8436 or please submit your information through our online form. T&Cs apply – Sign Up Here Let us tell your story! Live It Experience It is the NW200 tourism partner for 2018.