NAVIGATION

Cuilcagh Way

BUMAC-4256

Cuilcagh Summit and Lough Atona

The Cuilcagh Way is a waymarked route that stretches for 33km through a breath taking patchwork of habitats in southern Fermanagh. The route can be walked in sections and provides stunning views, fascinating geology, mystifying wildlife, captivating archaeology and natural history: enough to whet anyone’s appetite for adventure.

Click here to view the Cuilcagh Way map.

Please be aware:

It is important to choose a route that suits everybody in your group. You are strongly recommended to walk Cuilcagh Mountain with OSNI or OSNI Discover Series map 1:50,000 Sheet 26 available in most shops and Visitor Information Centres.

Weather conditions on Cuilcagh Mountain can be quick to change & inhospitable all year round making way finding difficult in poor visibility at any time of the year.

Equip yourself for walking in a mountainous area, waterproof clothing, boots, spare clothing, map, compass, first aid, food, drink etc.

Carry a map and stay to the way marked trail. Be aware that mobile reception in the area is poor. Let someone know where you have gone and when you are expected back.

In an Emergency – call 999 or 112 and ask for Mountain Rescue.

Leave No Trace – In order to protect the pristine nature of the Cuilcagh Mountain Landscape, we would ask that you take away all your litter and belongings.  We would also notify you that dogs, quads, bicycles, camping and fires are prohibited on all sections of the Cuilcagh Way.

Events – For safety, conservation and insurance reasons walk leaders and event organisers are not permitted to organise, advise or run an event of any nature in, or along any section of the Cuilcagh Way, where participants exceed 20, without prior written consent from the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark.  Application forms are available from the Geopark and should be submit well in advance of planned walks or events. Click on the link to download additional Information for Walking Event organisers  and a Risk Assessment Template.

Distance: 2.6 km                                  Time: 1 hours

Grade: Easy                                           Terrain: Pathway, boardwalk, steps

Route: Linear                                       Wheelchair Friendly: No

Facilities: Car parking, on site interpretation.

Map: Discoverer Series OSNI Sheet 26

For more information and maps click here.

Bluebells in Cladagh Glen

Bluebells in Cladagh Glen

The Cuilcagh Way begins in the car park at Cladagh Bridge. Cross the stone stile or pass through the wooden gate and follow the wide stone path into Cladagh Glen. Go through the next wooden kissing gate to enter Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark. The path follows the Cladagh River taking you to a series of steep wooden steps to the left of the arch after which the caves are named. At the top of the wooden steps (121 in total) is a concrete path, which leads you through two kissing gates to Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre.

 

Section 2: Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail

Distance: 4 miles/6km        Time: 3 hours (6 hours round trip)

Grade: Difficult                  Route Type: Gravel Track, Boardwalk

Route: Linear                                                    Wheelchair Friendly: No

Facilities: Car parking, on site interpretation, picnic area.

Map: Discoverer Series OSNI Sheet 26; Start Grid Reference H121335

Dogs: Dogs are not permitted

Publications:

Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail Map

 

Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail

 

Route description

Please note that access to the summit of Cuilcagh Mountain beyond the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail viewing platform is currently closed. We ask visitors to keep to the designated path and to remain within the confines of the viewing platform.  The habitat in this area is fragile and we kindly request that walkers respect the environment and do not stray from the designated route. Your cooperation with this is appreciated.

This route meanders through one of the largest expanses of blanket bog in Northern Ireland, traversing over tracks, boardwalk and staircase. A steep climb is required to reach the viewing platform which provides breathtaking views of the surrounding low lands.

The first part of the walk passes through a fascinating limestone landscape, often referred to as “The Fertile Rock” due to its flower-rich pastures. Visible along the trail you will see abandoned Irish cottages, dry stone walls and potato cultivation ridges (“lazy beds”) all remnants of Ireland’s past heritage.

Continuing along the gravel vehicle track the landscape starts to change to blanket bog where the unmistakable, flat-topped ridge of Cuilcagh Mountain is visible on the horizon. In the spring, an abundance of bog cotton carpets the bog in a blanket of white, while in late summer the purple moor grass glistens with shades of red and purple.

After 4km, you start your ascent of Cuilcagh Mountain. The way is negotiated by a section of boardwalk, providing protection to the sensitive blanket bog beneath. If you’re fortunate you may catch a glimpse of a red grouse. The bird’s most obvious features are its plump shape, white eyelids with bright pinkish-red combs above, and feathered legs and feet. They stay on the heath all year round eating the short, succulent shoots of heather.

Your final ascent is via a steep section of steps, these are not for the faint of heart! As you steadily climb you meander and weave your way through a rugged boulder landscape to eventually reach the viewing platform. The viewing platform positioned precariously at the edge of the mountain plateau offers breathtaking views over the surrounding landscape and an opportunity to take a well-deserved rest before starting your decent.

General information

Access to the summit of Cuilcagh Mountain beyond the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail viewing platform is not permitted. We ask visitors to keep to the designated path and to remain within the confines of the viewing platform.

The habitat in this area is fragile and we kindly request that walkers respect the environment and do not stray from the designated route. Your cooperation with this is appreciated.

Please note:

  • It is important to choose a walk that suits everyone in your group.
  • The weather conditions on the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail and Cuilcagh Mountain environment are changeable all year round and can quickly become inhospitable.
  • Equip yourself for walking in a mountainous area with; waterproof clothing, boots with good grip and ankle support, spare clothing, a map, a compass, first aid, food, drinks etc. are essential.
  • Be aware that mobile reception in the area is poor. Let someone know where you have gone and when you expect to be back.
  • In an Emergency: call 999 or 101 and ask for Mountain Rescue.

 

Did You Know? The habitat on Cuilcagh Mountain is very sensitive to the footfall of walkers and the boardwalk was constructed to prevent walkers from damaging the protected blanket bog. It is important to stay on the designated path in order to protect this beautiful habitat for future generations.

Getting to the Start (by Car)

There are two options for parking for your walk on the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail.

Option 1

Cuilcagh Boardwalk car park (on the attached map: location 2). This car park is located at the start of the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail. The car park can accommodate both cars and coach parking.

Please note: This car park is privately owned and charges apply. Coaches are advised to contact the landowner directly (this can be done by ringing the Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre on +44 (0)28 66321815. You will be asked to provide a contact name and telephone number which will be forwarded to the landowner to contact you.

Option 2

Killykeegan Nature Reserve car park (on the attached map: location 3). This car park is located a further 0.7 miles/1 km past the entrance for the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail. Car park admission is free and can accommodate cars and coaches. There are toilet facilities and picnic areas provided.

The Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre car park (on the attached map: location 1) is provided for visitors to the show cave only. This car park is monitored and is locked outside the show cave visiting hours.

How to get here

(Follow the signs for the Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre from Enniskillen)

Take the A4 Sligo Road from Enniskillen. Turn left onto the A32 Swanlinbar Road. Turn right onto the Marble Arch road. Turn left, still following the signs for the Marble Arch Visitor Centre. Along this narrow road, there will be a sign on your left hand side for the Cuilcagh Mountain Park this is car park option 1, for car park option 2 continue along the road for a further .7 miles/1 km the Killykeegan Nature Reserve car park is signed and located on your right hand side.

Facilities

Toilet facilities are available for walkers at the nearby Killykeegan Nature Reserve, signposted.

Events or Walking Groups Information

For safety, conservation and insurance reasons walk leaders and event organisers are not permitted to organise, advertise or run an event of any nature in or along the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail were participants exceed 20 without prior written consent from the Marble Arch Caves. This should be submitted well in advance of the planned walk or event.

Please contact: Michelle.Shannon@fermanaghomagh.com or +44(0) 28 66321815.

 

Section 3: Cuilcagh Hikers Trail

Distance: 9 km (18km round trip)               Time: 3 hours (6 hours round trip)

Grade: Difficult              Terrain: Gravel Track, Boardwalk, Steps and Rough Mountain Path

Route: Linear                                                    Wheelchair Friendly: No

Facilities: Car parking, on site interpretation, picnic area.

Map: Discoverer Series OSNI Sheet 26

Dogs: No Dogs Allowed

For more information and maps click here.

Cuilcagh Blanket Bog

The Cuilcagh Hiker’s Trail is a way marked linear route that will appeal to experienced walkers who enjoy spectacular views and are interested in undertaking a vigorous, challenging walk in the wilderness. The terrain consists of a mountain path so some parts of the route can be very wet and boggy, particularly after a rainy period. Due to the often challenging weather conditions on Cuilcagh Mountain, careful planning, constant vigilance and good navigation are required all year round.

The trail is a richly varied one in terms of topography and features, and includes walking over a glacial landscape in a mountainous environment passing by dry valleys, limestone pavement, mountain rivers and sandstone outcrops. This area is also managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds so keep alert for signs of the rare Golden Plover nesting in the area. As the route begins on the mountain there is no significant climb until the steep and vigorous 300metre scramble up the mountain face through rocky outcrops. Arriving on the summit you can’t miss the ancient cairn (the remains of a burial mound dating from the Bronze Age 2,500 – 500 BC). The summit provides a great vantage point to view the picturesque lowlands of County Fermanagh and Cavan and on an exceptionally clear day you can see both the Irish Sea and the Atlantic Ocean along with several surrounding counties.

Section 4: Leggacurragh Valley Trail

Distance: 6.8 km (13.6km round trip)        Time: 2 hours (4 hours round trip)

Grade: Difficult                                                  Terrain: Forest Road, gravel path, open bog

Route: Linear                                                     Wheelchair Friendly: No

Facilities: Car parking, on site interpretation, picnic area.

Map: Discoverer Series OSNI Sheet 26

Dogs: No Dogs Allowed

For more information and maps click here.

Legacurragh Valley

Legacurragh Valley

This route begins in a mountain area so careful planning, constant vigilance and good navigation are required all year round. The route has a wealth of interest in terms of landscapes and heritage, and involves walking through open moorland which is buzzing with nature as well as long stretches along shady woodland paths to discover tranquil rivers, a diversity of flowers and rustic farm ruins. The trail meanders frequently through ever changing scenery which is relatively flat with no severe climbs but some gradual descents. It offers a great escape through charming landscapes with potential for a glimpse of red squirrels, pine martens, deer and butterflies along the way. Walk Highlight Attractions along the trail include Florence Court House and Gardens which was the former home of the Earls of Enniskillen. The 18th Century house is set in a dramatic forest setting overlooked by Benaughlin Mountain, looming in the east with its dark green forested flanks rising to 373 metres.

 

Section 5: Florencecourt Forest Trail

Distance: 7.2 km (14.4km round trip)        Time: 2 hours (4 hours round trip)

Grade: Difficult                                                 Terrain: Forest Road, public road, open bog and grassland

Route: Linear                                                    Wheelchair Friendly: No

Facilities: Car parking, on site interpretation, picnic area (available at Marble Arch Caves)

Map: Discoverer Series OSNI Sheet 26

Dogs: No Dogs Allowed

For more information and maps click here.

Gortmaconnell Rock

Gortmaconnell Rock

When starting your walk from the carpark (Florencecourt Court Visitor Centre car park 1: National Trust charge entrance to this carpark) follow the Florence Court waymarked red trail, for the next few kilometres it takes you along narrow tracks which twist and turn and undulating course past mixed deciduous woodland crossing the Larganess River in several places. As you reach the edge of the forest you will pick up the trail sign for the Cuilcagh Way (Florence Court Forest Trail). It weaves its way through forests alive with a wide variety of wildlife, birds and plants before sauntering around the foothills of the Marlbank karst region, (an area of limestone with characteristic weathering both above and below ground.)

Added to these surrounding are corridors of lofty trees, dynamic rivers, rambling stone field walls, a rich treasury of wild flowers and a unique density of rustic farmsteads. The terrain consists of forestry tracks, field paths, moorland paths and country road. There are no significant climbs but along the western section of the trek there are some splendid views of Cuilcagh Mountain and the surrounding Marlbank hills. Attractions along the way include Gortmaconnell rock a knoll-shaped hill rising out of the green meadows with its craggy white slopes stark in the sunlight.

For more information on the Cuilcagh Way long distance walking route click here.