Walks around the Park
The Farm Walk. 60 min. Grade 1
This walk takes you from the Waterfall car park via a stile into the lush green fields where sheep graze. Yellow way-marks guide you via other stiles and gates to the tree lined banks of a stream. Some of the oldest sessile oak trees in the park are on this walk. The base of a famine road can be discerned. A stroll through the well-managed pastures brings you to a field on to the road near the main bridge.
The remaining section of the walk is up the road. On your right is a dry-stone wall, no mortar was used, built during 2005. Much of the stone was re-claimed from the derelict wall and some was collected from the steams. Half-way along here is a seat built in to the wall that makes a good photo opportunity with the waterfall in he background. May 2005 a film crew from USA filmed this being built along with other features of the park for a travel programme called "Passport to Europe".
On the other side of the road, between the road and the stream is the newly designed Wheelchair and Sensory Garden. The road leads uphill to the farm buildings; the first one is the lambing shed with the dipping pens behind. The road becomes even steeper as it follows the stream on the left which is a series of wonderful rock pools where some take a refreshing dip on hot days, there are picnic tables here. A road to the right leads into some farm buildings one of which is now Gleninchaquin Art Gallery. During lambing orphans are kept and bottle fed here and the hand shearing demonstrations are given. There are some pieces of old farm machinery and tools and a butter churn to look at.
You can either walk across the field to the car park or continue up the road, past the old homestead to Reception and refreshments. You could stop at the Water Garden on your left as you leave the farm-building road.
The River Walk and Water Garden, 40 min. Grade 2.
This is best approached from the Reception car park. Walk down the hill until you see the sign on your right.
At the start of the walk is The Water Garden which was created a few years ago and is being developed. The two ponds swarm with tadpoles in the season and water lilies, the logo for the park, grace them in the summer.
The walk ascends following the stream, a delightful series of rock pools and cascades of unusual design. There are handrails, steps and bridges to assist in ascending through the wooded area which is home to several tree species, wild flowers and fungi. Pied and Grey Wagtails also Dippers frequent the fast moving stream. Near the top there is a picnic table near a picturesque Waterfall. The walk ends at a gate opening onto a track that leads up into the mountains or back down to the farm.
Gleninchaquin Gallery is just below where the track meets the road.
Over The Waterfall. 115 min. Grade 4
Beginning at the waterfall car park the trail crosses the twin streams at the base of the falls by bridges or fords. The wide track ascends up the mountainside through the new woodland enclosure, a Native Woodland Scheme of some 40 acres, this track terminates at Cummenadillure, a deep black lake in a coombe.
Halfway up, on the right is a new path descending to a steam crossed by a stone bridge, this is the Heritage Trail.
At the lake the trail steepens and takes a right turn over a stile in the high fence. The next section is up the rocky mountainside following the white and red way marks to the top. There are signs at the top marking the start of Trail No 4 marked with yellow and one pointing to a Viewing Point. It is worth taking the short detour to see the upper valley with Lake Cummenaloughaun in its centre.
The trail descends to the top of the waterfall which is crossed by a log bridge. The heavy logs were flown up to their location by helicopter when opened to the public. The ever changing vistas of the valley with its lakes descending to Kenmare Bay and the McGillycuddy's Reeks in the distance is a memorable experience. The upper valley is in stark contrast with its terraces of bare rock and green ledgers and the floor of the valley covered with tussocks of Melina grass surrounding the small lake half covered with water lilies in the summer. There is a bog area at this point and the method of harvesting the turf or peat can be seen. The White and red way marks lead to a flight of steps cut in the rock that lead down off the mountain on to a wide track. Halfway down, on the right is a picnic area and charcoal pit. Towards the bottom there is a wooded area and a small wooden gate opens into the delightful River Walk making a nice contrast to the rugged mountain trail. There is another picnic spot near a small waterfall. The farm and Gleninchaquin Gallery are at the end of this walk.
Upper Valley Walk. 4hrs (from car park) Grade 4-5. Notify of Intention
To get to the start, which is signed in yellow, follow the first half of Trail No 3.
The Upper Valley walk follows the rim of the valley making a complete circuit around Lake Cummenaloughaun. There are no footpaths and you need to be alert to spot the yellow way marks. If the lake is kept in sight to the left you will not get lost. This part of the hike will take about 3 hrs.
This place feels like a real wilderness and as only a small percentage of our visitors take this walk those that do have it to themselves adding to the impression.(contrary to the impression your mobile phone will probably work here and no where else in the park or extended valley.)
The descent back to the farm and well deserved refreshments is via the flight of steps to the right of the falls. You can take the River Walk as the final 15 min. of your excursion. Gleninchaquin Gallery is near the end of the walk.
The Heritage Trail. 90min. Grade 3
This is a new trail that takes in most of the lower valley and a number of Heritage features both cultural and natural. Beginning in the waterfall car park the trail crosses the twin streams by bridges or fords and enters the new woodland enclosure which is part of our long-term Heritage Program. As a Native woodland Scheme it is planted with 5 native species of trees, 10's of thousands of young trees with just a single stem, were set in upturned sods during March 2006. The high fences and gates are to keep out the deer, Ferrell goats and sheep. The trail ascends the wide track until the sign for The Heritage Trail indicates the new path down into the valley which crosses the stone bridge. Soon after the bridge there is a walled enclosure that once served to protect drying crops and called a 'haggard', it is planned to make it into an orchard with old varieties of Irish fruit. Leaving the enclosure and crossing a small stream brings you to the Heritage Site, an 18th Century farmstead, uninhabited for more than 130 years. There are two buildings within an enclosed yard. The covering of vegetation and soil was removed and the walls cleared during 2005. Further investigation and restoration is planned.(See Heritage/Cultural). There are other features of Heritage here that go much further back in time. The next section of the trail is way marked as it crosses what was once the walled fields of the farmstead. Before it descends to the footpath there is a sign Viewing Point which leads to a view down the valley to the sea over the top of woodlands. The new footpath resumes just beyond the gate back into the enclosure and descends with the assistance of steps to the stream. A new wooden bridge crosses above a beautiful series of waterfalls and pools right on the boundary of the park into a small field. The field gate gives access on to the road leading back into the park and eventually the tea room and car parks. On the way there is a newly restored dry-stone wall, the Wheelchair and Sensory Garden, Rock pools, Farm buildings and Art Gallery. Throughout the length of this walk there are numerous examples of Gleninchaquins Heritage both cultural and natural. (See Heritage)
Walking the Boundaries. 7hrs. Grade 5. Notify. Food/drink/clothing
This walk is for the experienced hiker as there are no paths or way marks.
There is some scrambling in parts. Guided excursions can be arranged for groups.
The route follows the boundaries of Gleninchquin Park which, bye and large are defined by the high ridges of the Caher Mountain Range, starting with the Western ridge above the Heritage Site. This walk has to be experienced to be appreciated. A number of walking groups come each year for the experience sometimes combining it with another day walking the Beara Way which passes close by.