Sometimes everyone feels the need to get off the beaten track, and explore away from the traffic and the roads. Here in Inishowen we are lucky to have several off-road walks, in this blog I’ll compare a few and help you find them!
For a short walk the trail to the Glenevin Waterfall is really lovely; it’s beautifully laid out with bridges criss-crossing the stream along the way. There are some covered shelter areas and picnic benches, and the trail is of such a high quality that it’s accessible even with a pram or a wheelchair. The trail is only 1km, and the waterfall at the end makes it well worth your while! The trail starts at the car park next to the lovely Glen House – well situated for a wee treat after your walk…
If you are feeling a lot braver then, from the same starting point, you can walk all the way to Mamore Gap. This trail takes you up through the hills, with amazing views down onto the Atlantic. From the carpark there is a metal gate at the beginning of this trail, or as you enter the waterfall path you will see it branch off and up to the left for the hills. Alternatively if you are starting from the Mamore Gap side there is also a looped walk option – the green arrows mark the one-way trail, the purple are for the loop. The trail starts at this side from the carpark and the loop is 11km of fairly challenging walking.
Inch Wildfowl Reserve has another looped walk – but much flatter and easier! This 8km loop goes from Inch Level, across the bridge onto Inch Island, and then back again over the causeway. It’s a very enjoyable trail, with several birdwatching hides along it. The Reserve is very well-signed, with three carparks at various points.
If you are interested in seeing more of the east side of the peninsula there is a shore path alongside Lough Foyle. Following this you can walk all the way from Moville to Greencastle. The views across the water to County Derry are really beautiful, and the trail goes past several small beaches and impressive houses. There is a picnic bench and a carpark roughly half-way, and the path then finishes by the pier in Greencastle. The shore path starts from ‘the Green’ in Moville, with parking just opposite the community hall.
Also in this area is the Inishowen Head Looped Walk, which starts from just by the Blue Flag beach at Shroove. This is a national looped walk, and clearly signed. This is not entirely an off-road trail – it also includes minor roads and laneways, but there should be very little traffic to speak of. The completed loop is 8km; includes a WW2 lookout and, on a clear day, you will be able to spot three points which are the Paps of Jura in Scotland.
On the other side of Inishowen, alongside Lough Swilly, there is another shore path. This is 3km along the coast which includes beaches and old forts. The views across the Swilly are just beautiful, and there are signs and information boards at points of interest. Starting from town you can join this path through Swan Park – also lovely for a ramble! – or follow the path all the way from it’s earliest beginnings opposite the leisure centre. This path brings you to Stragill Beach if you follow it the whole way.
These are just a couple of my suggestions, but there are loads more! Fort Dunree also has some great trails to explore, you could climb Sliabh Sneachta or check out the riverside walks in Carndonagh or Moville. Just remember to bring some decent shoes for exploring!