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Quality Walk

Tollymore Forest Park - Mountain & Drinns Trail

A pleasant walk through both conifer and broadleaved woodland passing the Shimna River, duckponds and several points of historical interest. The Drinns Trail is an optional loop for those wishing to have a greater challenge.




5.5 plus 2.9 miles

OS Map

Sheet 29

Nearest Town


Route Shape


Route Type

Forest, Hill, Woodland


Forest paths, broken surfaces

Grid Reference (Start)


Grid Reference (End)


Point of Interest

Mature woodland, rivers, wildlife

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty


Route Description

The Mountain Trail -

Passing through the Forest Plots, the Mountain Trail enters a beech woodland, which in the spring is covered in bluebells.

The route runs parallel with the Shimna River before crossing it over the Boundary Bridge.

The trail continues along one of the Shimna’s tributaries through mature conifer forest. Good views of Luke’s mountain can be had as the trail reaches the boundary wall before zigzagging back toward the Spinkwee River, crossing at the Hore’s bridge.

For those seeking a longer walk - from the crossroads follow the optional Drinns Trail.

(The Drinns are two distinct hills clearly seen from the main car park. The easterly Drinn is the highest point in the Forest Park at 255m. The Curraghard viewpoint offers a resting spot to view the expansive view of the Northern Mournes, Dundrum Bay, Newcastle and the Irish Sea)

This Black Trail adds a further 2.9 miles by circumnavigating the Drinns running along the boundary wall and past conifer forest to Curraghhard viewpoint and back to the Mountain Trail.

The second half of the Mountain Trail passes through conifer plantations at various stages of maturity before reaching the second crossing point of the Shimna River at the Ivy Bridge.

The return route to the car park proceeds along the old river drive passing Foley’s bridge and the dramatic Shimna Gorge before returning up the Green Rig.

Trail Features

Steps, gullies, fences, streams, boulders

Severe gradients

Generally undefined edges

Overhanging branches

All types of terrain

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

Signposted from Newcastle. Take the road for 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

McK 25 May, 2018 @ 17:08

Beautiful park, but the disabled access is very poor. I paid my £5 and parked, then asked a ranger was there any places for people of restricted mobility as my guest was a little unsteady of footing . He suggested the laneway in front of the play area and to walk across the carpark. Hardly appropriate is it? In this day and age? Tollymore is vast and stunningly beautiful surely there is the opportunity to put in some flat paths or viewing areas to actually give disabled people somewhere to go besides the toilets... Why bother to provide those facilities ,when disabled people are obviously so un welcome

Flobang 27 July, 2016 @ 17:02

Just home from walking this including the Drinns trail. Really nice walk, steep in places but good track/path with very clear way marker posts. Brought the dog and he loved it. He slept the whole way home in the car!!

Beautiful views of the Mournes and spectacular areas of woodland to enjoy. The Drinns area has had some new planting recently with hundreds of little pine trees poking up amongst the recently harvested area.

I followed the red trail at the start as suggested by another reviewer and joined the black trail at the boundary. This trail takes you along the river and provides a lovely backdrop to the walk.

It would be nice if some benches were situated up in the Drinns area for taking a break and enjoying a bite to eat and a cuppa but I found a nice rocky outcrop to sit and enjoy a sandwich and coffee anyway.

tom 7 May, 2016 @ 16:31

Walked this this past week, its a very easy track - no big boots required. Great views in all the right place and a nice distance. Id recommended taking the red trail anticlockwise from the main carpark and then joining the black trail at parnells bridge. Pack a camera and choose the season well for the photos are stunning! I also walked the Drinns trail, with great views from the peak and views of the rear of the mournes. highly recommend this walk to anyone, choose the day and season well. Well worth the 5quid carpark fee!

Lynn 24 May, 2015 @ 18:28

I just love Tollymore forest, whether on horseback or walking there is something for everyone to enjoy. I have been in rain hail and snow and sunshine of course!

Dawn Baird 13 August, 2013 @ 21:04

Lovely walk starting off gently with steeper stretches around the zizaggy part, tailing off into a gentle downward slope back to the car park.

Derek Flack 8 August, 2013 @ 07:55

A very pleasant, interesting walk. To make it more interesting/manageable, it can be adapted to avoid too many uphill stretches. The Drinns additional stretch is well worth a go - lovely viewpoint at top. For a shorter walk with less climbing, head off on the red route at Parnell's Bridge and join the black route again at Hore's Bridge. For nature lovers, lots of butterflies in summer, some red squirrels and a pine marten if you're very lucky

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