Erne System: Walking
Take a digital detox and wrap yourself in nature on a walk through the enchanting wilderness surrounding Lough Erne.
Blustering cliffs, mysterious forests filled with trees that twist towards the sky, gentle lakeside strolls – Lough Erne's beguiling landscape soothes the soul and restores a connection to nature.
From scenic, water-lapped jetties that jut out into glassy waters to delightful country parks, this beautiful lakeland area is a walker's paradise, boasting countless trails into some of the island's most beguiling woodland.
Around the shores of both Upper and Lower Lough Erne you'll find a wealth of stunning walking routes, from short and pleasant strolls to longer, more challenging hikes. And while fragrant forests are plentiful here, Lough Erne has a few surprises up its sleeve too.
Be wowed with panoramic views on an adrenaline-pumping cliff hike, follow a remarkable boardwalk that weaves over blanket bog, and experience the striking beauty of a waterfall that gushes through lush, green woodland.
Ely Lodge Forest
Just off the Lough Shore Road, the forest at Ely Lodge was originally part of the estate of the Marquis of Ely, and was the largest demesne in County Fermanagh during the Victorian era. Today, it's a gorgeous woodland that's heavily draped with moss, wood sorrel and ferns, with a path that meanders along the shoreline, revealing breathtaking glimpses of the lake along the way. The Carrickreagh Jetty Walk (2km) here is a pleasant, easy trail with an accessible path.
Blackslee Waterfall Walk, Lough Navar Forest
A short way beyond the entrance to Lough Navar Forest, you'll find a sign for Blackslee Waterfall Walk. This gorgeous 6.5km walk will bring you deep into forested hills filled with willow and aspen, as well as conifers on higher ground, as you tread paths lush with bluebells, wild garlic and wood sorrel. Follow the trail through aromatic woodland and past fascinating geological features to a secluded waterfall that cascades through the verdant surrounds and feels delightfully romantic.
Tully Castle Loughshore Walk
The dramatic-looking Tully Castle sits at the top of a south-facing slope overlooking the tranquil Fermanagh countryside. Once you've had a look around the imposing castle ruins, follow this 2km trail that snakes through dense woodland. Arresting views across the island-studded lough will stop you in your tracks as you amble through these beautiful scented woods blanketed with lichen, orchids, bluebells and ferns.
Set on the shores of Upper Lough Erne, Crom Estate is a sheer scenic delight, from the craggy castle ruins to the waterside summerhouse to the famous old yew trees. While you can easily spend your day wandering around this stunning estate, there's a great 7km walk that will bring you to the very best this estate has to offer from the shimmering waterside to the evocative woodland.
Castle Caldwell Forest Park
Once a vast and impressive estate purchased by James Caldwell in 1662, Castle Caldwell's entrance sets the tone of what's to come, with a chunky stone gate designed to impress. Set along Lower Lough Erne's northern shore, the country estate boasts a romantic, ivy-clad Gothic castle, a crumbling church and several walking routes through an endless wall of forest. Along the way, enjoy glimpses of the lough and, if you're lucky, you might even see a red squirrel or two.
Castle Archdale Forest Woodland Riverside Walk
A country park packed with history, Castle Archdale offers something a little different from other scenic forest walks in the area. This vast natural playground was the most westerly flying boat base in the Second World War, and was the main base from which these aircraft flew. After exploring the Castle Archdale at War exhibition, strike out into the rich woodland on one of the many walking routes that pass ponds, a wildflower meadow, butterfly garden and a deer park enclosure.
Magho Cliffs Walk
While you might think of County Fermanagh as a place of undulating hills, low-lying green fields and gentle rippling waters, the landscape around Lough Erne is one of constant surprises. Just look at the Magho Cliffs – this dramatic limestone escarpment runs for 9km and is a majestic combination of rusty brown and green tones. If you're up for a challenge, strap on your walking boots and reach for the skies with the Magho Cliffs Walk – a steep, challenging hike from the shore to the scenic cliff top where views over the island-studded landscape make it all worthwhile.
Cuilcagh Boardwalk (Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail)
The imposing bulk of Cuilcagh Mountain dominates the surrounding landscape and offers something quite extraordinary to visitors: a linear walking route, a little over 12km in length, that takes you from the car park right to the mountain's distinctive flat summit, via a stepped wooden boardwalk. The views are breathtaking whichever direction you walk: head up the mountain and you'll find yourself fascinated by the play of light across Cuillcagh's rugged flanks. Reach the top of the boardwalk and you'll be gifted with the sight of Lough Atona, a glacial lake nestled at the foot of the mountain. And on the way back, enjoy a soul-stirring vista of distant blue hills, vast expanses of rust-coloured bog and the glinting waters of Lough McNean.