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Glengarriff Walks

If you are looking for things to do in West Cork then check out these lovely Glengarriff walks, perfect for the ideal West Cork breakaway,

The River Walk

Distance: 1km 
Duration: 25 minutes
Standard: easy  
Terrain: footpath, mostly level

This is a lovely introduction to Glengarriff Nature Reserve, taking you on a gentle wander through old oak woods and along the banks of the Glengarriff River. Take time to look around and see the ferns, mosses and lichens growing on the old oak trees – this lush growth is typical of the oceanic woodlands in the south-west of Ireland, where the Gulf Stream ensures the climate is warm and wet.  Beneath the oak canopy, the most common tree is the evergreen Holly with its prickly leaves and red berries.  Looking down into the river you may be lucky to spot a Freshwater Pearl Mussel.  This rare species lives to over 120years old, making it the longest living animal in Ireland.
Directions: Leaving the main car park cross the footbridge and turn left.  Half way round this circular walk, is a footbridge (cross the bridge if you wish to embark on the Big Meadow walk).  To continue the River Walk, ignore the bridge and carry straight on until you near the public road.  Climb the steps and in a few minutes you’ll be back at the car park.

Lady Bantry’s Lookout

Distance: 1km
Duration: 30 minutes
Standard: moderate
Terrain: steep footpath with steps

This walk is a must on any fine day.  The climb up through the woods is steep, but the effort is worth it.  From the top there are fantastic panoramic views over Glengarriff to Garinish Island, Whiddy Island and Bantry Bay.  To the north you can see the full extent of Glengarriff woodlands, nestling in the rugged glen rimmed by the Caha Mountains. 
Directions: From the car park head south along the track to the bend.  Cross the narrow footbridge and head up the footpath which follows the line of an ancient road down the Beara peninsula.  Crossing the public road, the steep ascent begins.  As you near the top, one of the last trees on the left is a Strawberry Tree. To return to the car park retrace your steps.

Big Meadow

Distance: 3km 
Duration: 90 minutes 
Standard: easy
Terrain: footpath and woodland track. Mostly level.

The unique feature of this walk is the Big Meadow, an area of old grassland that has not been fertilised or ploughed in living memory.  There are hundreds of anthills, swathes of wild flowers and several stately oaks.  In winter the meadow is grazed by Kerry cattle to help stop scrub invading the grassland.  After passing through the meadow, you walk along a woodland track where Beech, Eucalyptus and Scot's Pine feature. Beyond the Scot's Pine is a new lake that was successfully created for the rare Downy Emerald dragonfly.  Much of area near the lake is lush with regenerating woodland, which has developed naturally after the area was cleared of conifer plantations.

Directions: Take the River Walk until you reach a footbridge.  Cross this bridge, keep left and cross a second bridge.  Turn right to reach the Big Meadow. At the end of the meadow turn left through Beech trees along a forest track and past a small lake. Just before the gate onto the public road turn left onto a track. Follow the track for 1.3km until you reach the sign to Lady Bantry’s Lookout.  Turn left to get back to the car park (or right if you still have the energy to climb up to the viewing point).

Esknamucky

Distance: 2.8km
Duration: 90 minutes
Standard: moderate 
Terrain: steep footpath with steps

Otherwise known as the High Walk, this trail climbs up through the woods for some fantastic views over the trees to the mountains beyond.   It can be easily combined with the Waterfall Walk.
Directions: Leaving the car park follow the track north to the public road and turn left.  After a short distance you will cross a stone bridge over the Canrooska River.   Take the right hand path at the picnic table and follow the path along the river bank to a small waterfall (which is especially impressive after rain).  Soon after, the path climbs up to a series of viewing points before descending again to a forest track by a grove of Eucalpytus trees.  Turn left off the forest track onto a path that winds its way down to the public road.  Cross this road and turn left onto the River Walk and the car park is

Waterfall Walk

Distance: 0.5km 
Duration: 15 minutes 
Standard: easy 
Terrain: gentle slope

The waterfall, which is especially impressive after rain, is on the Canrooska River which flows down to meet the main Glengarriff River.
Directions: Leaving the car park, follow the track north to the public road and turn left.  After a short distance you will cross a stone bridge over the Canrooska River.   Take the right hand path at the picnic table and follow the path along the riverbank to a small waterfall.  Return by the same path and either take the Esknamucky Trail or return to the car park.