Carrigan Forest is the gateway between two significant expanses of upland forest, tucked between Big Dog Forest and Ballintempo Forest.
This forest along with Ballintempo, Big Dog, Conagher and Lough Navar forests in west Fermanagh combine to form the largest continuous tract of forest in Northern Ireland covering over 8,500 hectares. The Forest showcases a landscape rich in limestone features, which is of great importance to the Geopark.
The most intriguing feature in the forest is the tranquil Lough Formal, sitting at 240m above sea level providing a great location for taking in the views of the hills Formal More and Formal Beg which flank the western shore of the lake.
Facilities: car parking, interpretation, picnic area and Lough Formal Walk.
The first part of the walk passes through a corridor of forest before opening up to reveal the tranquil shores of Lough Formal. Continue along the shoreline of Lough Formal and you will link onto a grassy path, which leads onwards up a slope of heather and sandstone boulders to the top of Formal More. From here stunning views of Lough Melvin, Donegal Bay and Cuilcagh Mountain can be enjoyed.
After re-joining the main track, retrace your steps along the lake and by turning right you can follow the course of the Roogagh River. This takes you deep into the forest before emerging onto the hill path that displays fine views of the rocky pinnacles of Big Dog and Little Dog.
Lough Formal is a small mountain lake that sits astride a fault (or crack) in the Earth`s crust. No longer active, this fault moved two very different rock types (limestone and sandstone) beside each other and these now make up the bed of the lake. The lake is fed by a resurgence (spring) which lies on its South western shores and this freshwater lake provides a sheltered area for wintering wildfowl, such as mute swans.
Big Dog and Little Dog are two distinctive hills made up of a resistant limestone that originally formed over 340 million years ago as a mound of lime-mud at the bottom of an ancient seafloor when at the time the island of Ireland was covered by a shallow tropical sea.
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Distances are from Carrigan Forest