Ely Lodge Forest

Ely Lodge Forest extends over 250 hectares and is a perfect mix of both native deciduous and coniferous tree species. The forest is rich in wildlife and steeped in a history dating back to the 17th Century. Ely Lodge Forest is owned and managed by Forest Service as a recreational site as well as a working forest. Until 1987 the nearby Ely Lodge was a favourite summer retreat for the Duke and Duchess of Westminster and their children, and is now a private residence with chalets to let.

Facilities: car parking, picnic area, fishing stands, boat jetty, and three walking trails.

Getting Here

Ely Lodge Forest

  • Main Car Park
  • Lough Shore Road
  • Blaney
  • Fermanagh
  • Northern Ireland
  • BT93 7FH
  • Main Car Park
  • Lough Shore Road
  • Blaney
  • Fermanagh
  • Northern Ireland
  • BT93 7FH
  • 54.4116329, -7.7252979

Walking Trails

Trail 1 – Carrickreagh Jetty Walk

  • Distance: 1.3 miles
  • Grade: Easy
  • Terrain: Tarmac
  • Route: Linear
  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes
  • Dogs: Dogs must be kept under control and waste disposed of

The Carrickreagh Jetty Walk is a blue waymarked linear route through a woodland landscape skirting the shoreline of Lower Lough Erne. The path meanders through the forest which is alive with green foliage and the undergrowth glows a vibrant green with moss, wood sorrel and ferns carpeting the ground beneath the trees. Added to these surroundings are areas where the forest opens to provide glimpses of Lower Lough Erne and its surroundings. Take a moment to look at the Crannog, Inish Lougher and Inish Fovar Islands, which are directly opposite the shoreline. These islands and the surrounding shore are an important area for a variety of wild fowl and water birds. You can proceed to the jetty and take the opportunity to enjoy the panoramic views of the lake.

Ely Lodge Carrickreagh Jetty Walk   Map

Trail 2 – Carrickreagh Viewpoint Walk

  • Distance: 1.5 miles
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Grade: Easy
  • Terrain: All types, mostly forest track
  • Route: Anti-clockwise circular
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Dogs: Dogs must be kept under control and waste disposed of

The Carrickreagh Viewpoint sweeps up from the shores of Lower Lough Erne, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the UK and Ireland. The path fringes the shoreline of the lake (along the Carrickreagh Jetty Walk) before crossing a public road to begin a gradual but steady climb to Carrickreagh Viewpoint. Follow the path uphill through mature woodland where beech, ash, larch, oak, holly and elder are prolific. The woodland is most spectacular during early May and in late October when the broadleaf trees are at their most colourful. On reaching Carrickreagh Viewpoint you can appreciate the true beauty of this vast inland lake. The seemingly peaceful setting discourages the notion that it was once the focus of intense flying operations during the Second World War. Sunderland and Catalina flying boats from RAF Castle Archdale, now the Castle Archdale Country Park, journeyed up Lower Lough Erne enroute to patrol the North Atlantic Ocean. Today, Ely Lodge Forest provides a tranquil valuable habitat for woodland mammals such as badgers, foxes, pine martens and a healthy population of red squirrels.

Ely Lodge Carrickreagh Viewpoint Walk   Map

Trail 3 – Loughshore Walk

  • Distance: 1.3 miles
  • Grade: Easy
  • Terrain: All types, mostly forest track
  • Route: Circular
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Dogs: Dogs must be kept under control and waste disposed of

The path traces the shoreline of Lower Lough Erne where the site of the original Ely House can be glimpsed through the trees. According to the Ely Papers It was once part of one of the largest private estates in Fermanagh and in recent year’s home to the late Dowager Duchess of Westminster. The Loughshore Walk continues up a gentle slope before branching off into an area planted with Sitka spruce and European larch the main species of conifer in the forest. Continuing along the well surfaced path the route passes through a sparse wooded area where in spring flowers such as bluebells and wood sorrel thrive.

Ely Lodge Loughshore Walk   Map

Heritage

Ely Lodge Forest was once part of the demesne of the Marquis of Ely, Nicholas Loftus. The lodge was one of two gatehouses to the Ely Estate, which was the largest in County Fermanagh during Victorian times.

The outlook from the Carrickreagh Viewpoint within Ely Lodge Forest is spectacular with views over the Bluestack Mountains of County Donegal to the North and Sligo Bay and the Atlantic Ocean to the West as well as looking down on Lower Lough Erne and its islands. Along the shoreline the most striking feature of the landscape is undoubtedly Lower Lough Erne. The formation of the lake can be traced back to the last Ice Age when huge ice sheets scraped out huge u-shaped valleys such as the one now occupied by Lower Lough Erne.

The forest includes trails which are accessible for all, and is a perfect place to while away an afternoon with friends or family or just have some ‘me time’ enjoy the tranquillity and soak up this special corner of the County.

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Distances are from Ely Lodge Forest