Saturday 25 October 2014

Walk of the Week

Bonaveen Walking Trails, Co Galway

Bonaveen Walking Trails

Ascent: 10m Trailhead: Car park, Portumna Forest Park Distance: 10.5k Time: 2hrs Difficulty: Moderate

Portumna Forest Park is adjacent to Portumna on the northern shore of Lough Derg. It can be found on discovery map number 53, grid reference M 838 037. There are forest and lakeside walks, a car park, toilet facilities and observation points.

This trail is the longest loop in the Forest Park, covering its western side, including the wonderful Bonaveen Point section by the lake.

This loop brings the visitor into a multitude of diversity including mature Scots pine forest and open lakeshore environments. It ventures into areas of the park previously unexplored by visitors.

The trail starts northwards from the car-park on a single track (narrow and twisty in places) and heads into large stands of Scots pine. It then winds through mature beech forest and younger mixed broadleaves bringing you around the top of Portumna Golf Club.

You will pass through deer gates in high fences, designed to keep the deer from entering onto the golf course. When you reach the golf club's car park, cross directly over while watching for traffic entering and leaving the car park.

The next section brings you above a large turlough on the western end of the park. This is a feature typical of low-lying limestone areas where the water table fluctuates throughout the year.

In winter, this is a haven for water fowl such as duck, waterhen and cranes. It leads onto a forest road to the south of the golf club and brings you near the disused Bonaveen harbour and onto the long section around the lakeshore.

This is some of the most attractive landscape in the park with great views out over the expanse of Lough Derg; a very busy area for pleasure craft in the summer.

This trail is open to bad weather at times and can be quite exposed, so be prepared with suitable clothing and footwear.

On the return leg from the lake, you can link into the green waymarked loop of the Rinmaher trail to give a four-hour walk or two-hour cycle of the full trails in the park.

Irish Independent

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