Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail

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.

The Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail showcases the scenic wilderness of Cuilcagh Mountain. The trail meanders along a farmland track, through one of the largest expanses of blanket bog in Northern Ireland, before traversing a wooden boardwalk that consists of a steady climb to the mountain face. Here a stepped boardwalk climbs through steep terrain and boulders fields before reaching the viewing platform which provides breathtaking views of the surrounding lowlands.

The Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail is one of the walks on offer within Cuilcagh Mountain Park and is Section Two of the Cuilcagh Way, a waymarked route that stretches for 20.5 miles through a breath-taking patchwork of habitats in west Fermanagh. The route provides breathtaking views, amazing geology, wonderful wildlife, captivating archaeology and can be walked in sections.

Getting Here

Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail

  • Main Car Park
  • 43 Marlbank Road
  • Enniskillen
  • Fermanagh
  • Northern Ireland
  • BT92 1EW
  • Main Car Park
  • 43 Marlbank Road
  • Enniskillen
  • Fermanagh
  • Northern Ireland
  • BT92 1EW
  • 54.2585154, -7.8131323

The Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail is located on the Marlbank Road just past the entrance for the Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre. Follow 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 on to the Marlbank Road, still following the signs for the Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre. Along this narrow road, there will be a sign on your left-hand side for Cuilcagh Mountain Park, this is carpark option 1, for carpark option 2 continue along the road for a further 0.5 miles to the Killykeeghan Nature Reserve car park signed and located on your right-hand side.

Alternatively, search ‘Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail’ on Google.

Car park – Option 1

This car park is located at the start of the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail and can accommodate a limited number of cars and coach parking. This carpark is privately owned and is operating a pre booking system which can be accessed via www.theboardwalk.ie/.

Car park – Option 2

Killykeeghan Nature Reserve car park is located a further 0.5 miles past the entrance for the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail and can accommodate a limited number of cars and coaches. Admission is free and interpretation, a picnic area and toilets are provided.

Walking Trail

  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Time: 3 hours round trip
  • Grade: Difficult
  • Terrain: Gravel track, wooden boardwalk, and steep staircase
  • Route: Linear
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Map: Discover Series OSNI Sheet 26
  • Dogs: Dogs are not permitted

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 2.4 miles 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 are 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 breath taking views over the surrounding landscape and an opportunity to take a well-deserved rest.

A rough mountain path negotiates the wild summit plateau before reaching an ancient cairn (the remains of a burial mound dating from the Bronze Age 2,500 – 500 BC) that stands at 665m above sea level.

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.

Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail   Map

Please be aware:

  • Weather conditions on Cuilcagh can be quick to change and 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.
  • Cuilcagh is a working farm so be aware of livestock in the area.
  • 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.
  • Plan your visit, check social media for daily updates on visitors to the mountain, as the walk can take 8-10 hours on a busy day.
  • No dogs are permitted on the Boardwalk.

Events or Walking Groups

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 any section of the Cuilcagh Way, where participants exceed 20, without prior written consent from the Marble Arch Caves. Application forms are available from the Marble Arch Caves and should be submitted well in advance of a planned walk or event. Please contact mac@fermanaghomagh.com for more information.

Heritage

Often named “The stairway to heaven”, Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail was opened to preserve and protect the underlying peatland bog and reverse the erosion of this special site.

However, shortly after this, the boardwalk served another purpose, attracting swarms of visitors. In 2015, the trail’s footfall rose from around 3,000 per annum to a huge 60,000.

A rough mountain path negotiates the wild summit plateau before reaching an ancient cairn (the remains of a burial mound dating from the Bronze Age 2,500 – 500 BC) that stands at 665m above sea level.

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Distances are from Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail