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OUTDOORS Walk of the Month – Tourmakeady woodland trail

Outdoor Living
Tourmakeady waterfall. Pic: Tommy Eibrand
Pic: Tommy Eibrand

Tourmakeady woodland and waterfall

Tom Carolan

Tourmakeady forest trail

Level of difficulty Moderate
What to Bring Walking boots or sturdy runners, rain jacket, camera
Length of trail 2.5 km
Duration 1 to 1.5 hours

The village of Tourmakeady is nestled between the Partry Mountains and Lough Mask. The name Tourmakeady means the bleach field of the Keady family, the bleach field was where flax was laid out in the sun for bleaching and dying before spinning. Renowned for its spectacular waterfall, the woodland was given over to the Irish forestry department in 1956 and in 2000 a section of the wood was set aside to establish a millennium forest. This beautiful and historic woodland filled with native hardwood species is a treat for any walker.
The main tree species you will find are oak, ash, willow, alder, birch rowan and pockets of Sitka spruce. In the shrub layer beneath you will find, honeysuckle, bramble and wood sorrel. Fallow deer are a common sight in the area. If you are lucky, you might get a glimpse of a pine marten, otter or fox.
This is a nature trail where you will experience a truly magical woodland habitat. Just 2.5 kilometres in length and with 25 metres of vertical height gain; this is a moderately graded walk, suitable for family groups, if using a buggy you will get as far as the waterfall, but you will have to retrace your steps back to the car park as the second part of the trail has rougher terrain.

Tourmakeady Map

Beginning at the car park, the trail follows the Glensaul River, providing the walker with wonderful riverside sights and sounds which can also be enjoyed at any of the seated picnic areas along the way.
The waterfall midway along the trail is the focal point of this lovely woodland walk and is a great place to relax for a while. After the waterfall, the trail climbs through the forest affording great views over the entire woodland. The trail is just a path through the wood at this point. Further on it reverts to a forest road before descending back to the car park.
The lake trail is an extension of the nature trail and brings you around the manmade lake with some lovely views and is approx 1.5km long, it rejoins the nature trail before returning to the car park. The lake is well stocked with brown trout.
You can start your walk at O’Toole’s pub or alternatively drive into the wood until you reach a small car park where the trail is marked out on a map board.

Tom Carolan works for South West Mayo Development Company as Recreation Officer. His job involves the design, construction, and promotion of recreational trails. He can be contacted at living@mayonews.ie.

This article is the 12th in Living section Walk of the Month series, which describes a different Mayo walk on the first Tuesday of each month.