The wood offers a choice of 3 walks from the car park through the mixed woodland. A popular site for local dog walkers.

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Walk Route

Cairn Wood/ Ballysallagh

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  • Well set out. Nice mixture of deciduous and conifer woodland. Clean pathway and a nice mixture of trails.

    Only complaint is it appears to be very prone to dalkwalkers filling wee black plastic bags with excrement, and leaving them tied onto low hanging branches. The whole route was festooned with these grim Christmas tree decorations. I’ll never understand the mentality of people who do it.

    David Lawlor at 3:28 pm
  • County Down

    Distance 1.3 miles

    OS Map Sheet 15

    Terrain Easy walking on forest tracks

    Nearest Town Holywood

    Route Shape Circular

    Grid Reference J448775

    Route Type Forest, Woodland

    Route Description

    From the car park follow the waymarkers (choice of 3 routes) through the forest and woodland. The walking on forest roads (unsurfaced) is steep in places.

    Rising to an altitude of 200m the woodland was once an outlier of the Clandeboye Estate and is important locally not only for its conservation value but also as a landscape feature in North Down.

    The tree cover in the Forest Nature Reserve is mainly beech, with some oak, birch, alder, rowan and holly many of which are of scrub character. A few conifers occur, mostly Scots pine.

    Open areas are predominantly grass/rush complex with bramble and at the highest elevations there is heathland with bilberry growing extensively.

    There is a wide range of small song birds and many of the more common raptors frequent the area. Red squirrels are resident in the forest and may be seen in the wooded areas near the adjacent hill fort.

    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.

    Point of Interest

    Permanent orienteering course, conservation woodland with native broadleaves, red squirrels resident

    Getting to the start

    From Holywood: Take the Church Road to its junction with B170. Turn left onto the Ballymiscaw Road. At the end of the road turn right onto Whinney Hill. At the next junction turn left onto Craigantlet Road for approximately 0.75 mile to the forest car park.

    Public transport

    Translink –

    Dog Policy

    Dogs must be kept under control and should not be allowed to foul on footpaths. Please use the dog foul bins provided at the trail head.


    Car parking and picnic facilities