Distance: 5.5k Time: 2hrs Grade: Easy Ascent: 20m Attributes: Loop trail Trail-way marking: Green Starting Point: Car Park (white gates)
Union Wood is an old woodland site which was formerly part of the Cooper Estate. The lands were acquired by the Cooper family in the mid-17th Century under the Cromwellian settlement. It was formerly owned by the McDonaghs, an old Irish family.
The Sligo Way, a National Waymarked trail, runs through a section of Union Wood. From this trail, the Sligo Way proceeds onto the eastern shore of Lough Gill at Slishwood and on to the village of Dromahair, Co Leitrim.
This trail takes you along the western edge of an old oak woodland managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
There are views of the surrounding Ox mountain range, also known as St Patrick's Mountains, after the saint who built churches on its slopes and left his name to some of its wells.
The mountains begin immediately south-west of Ballysadare, and run west/south-west from Ballysadare for about 40 miles to the Mayo boundary, and continue on to the south-west through the Slieve Gamph range.
Take the N4 from Sligo for about 4k. Turn onto the Carraroe roundabout and take the R287 exit to Drumahair and immediately turn right onto the R284 to Keadue. The trail is 4k from this junction.
Visit www.coillteoutdoors.ie for more information.