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Quality Walk

Tollymore Forest Park - River Trail

Having descended the Azalea Walk to the Shimna River, the trail turns upstream along the attractive tree lined river bank past the Hermitage to cross the river at Parnell's Bridge. The 10 metre cascade fall is most spectacular.




3.1 miles

OS Map

Sheet 29

Nearest Town


Route Shape


Route Type

Forest, Riverside, Woodland


Easy off-road paths

Grid Reference (Start)


Grid Reference (End)


Point of Interest

Shimna River, the Hermitage, Parnell's Bridge, the Cascades

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty


Route Description

Follow the red waymarker arrows from the car park.

Down the Azalea Walk towards the Shimna river to the Hermitage this trail passes through both conifer and broadleaved woodland before crossing the Shimna at Parnell’s bridge.

Dramatic views of the Pot of Legawherry can be seen from the trail. There is an optional spur to the White Fort Cashel before following the Spinkwee River downstream, past the cascades and back to the Meeting of the Waters.

The trail proceeds through conifer plantations, past the duck pond and crosses the Shimna River over the Old Bridge, returning to the car park via the Green Rig.

Trail Features

Steps, gullies, tree roots

Moderate gradient (1:4)

Generally undefined edges

Overhanging branches

Broken surface material

Some rest areas at irregular intervals

Way-finding markers at trail junctions

Distance to go Markers at trail junctions

These walks are situated in a working forest environment and may be subject to diversion and closure from time to time.

Up to date information is available on the Forest Service web site - link below.

Getting to the Start (by Public Transport)

Translink - journeyplanner.translink.co.uk

Getting to the Start (by Car)

Signposted from Newcastle. Take the road to Bryansford and the entrance to Tollymore Forest Park is on the left.

Accessibility Grade

Grade 5

Accessible Facilities

The following facilities are available for users with limited mobility:

Disabled toilets
Disabled parking


Car park (fee charged), toilets (disabled access), picnic areas, camping and caravaning, electronic 'In-Touch' information kiosk, way-marked/ nature trails, guided tours available.



Publication Availability


Walk Location
Map of Northern Ireland
Image Gallery

Ratings and Comments

hglenn@btinternet.com 23 April, 2019 @ 18:47

Had a lovely walk with friends on Easter Sunday along the river but it was disturbing to see lots of bags of dog poo lying all over the place. People obviously think it is just enough to put it in a bag and then leave it.

Ian WJ 7 October, 2018 @ 04:30

I am disabled ambulant - ie, I need walking poles on slopes (particularly down). I'm also a retired Mountain Leader.

Firstly, I would say how sad it is to see an official map of the area missing the two most basic components of proper mapping - where is North? - oh dear, it's at the bottom, that's confusing! And scale - there's a hint of this from the walk information.

Now onto the walking. I would say the red route is as easy as it says with one or two caveats. My leg doesn't bend much. There's a myriad of tree roots along the riverside so I would say that anybody who needs a stick to walk, be very careful about foot placement.

The walk itself is stunning. A fabulous riverside walk and glorious mini-cascades along its length. A great pity about the "Game of Thrones" filming trolleys, trucks and other paraphanalia not really out of sight. I wouldn't say they were subtly discrete.

Signage? This Mountain Leader succeeded in starting the route in reverse because the actual start location is not as obvious. C'mon, put up a decent visible signpost in the very full car park. I spotted the noticeboard when we finished! And perhaps slightly more signage along the route - just to keep you confident you are going the right way. We also walked right past the White Fort, gave up a while later and then walked right back past it without even noticing it. Its location is very far from obvious.

All in all, though, I would say the red route is a "must do".

We also walked "beyond piste" by taking in the supposedly much more difficult Drinns route as well - do you know, it may the walk a lot further but it isn't very difficult. Just more stony ground than the red route and a somewhat steeper route at times.

Lastly, I know maps can have too much detail, but this one misses out some very obvious "other trails". So next time, I shall bring an ordnance survey map which tells the truth here

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