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OUTDOORS Walk of the month – Clare Lake Forest Greenway

Outdoor Living

A trail with a giant twist

Cathleen Fergus

Clare Lake Forest Greenway (The Land of the Giants)
Total distance: ??5 kms
Estimated time:?1 hr
Degree of difficulty:? Easy
Trail surface:?? path/ forest tracks
Minimum gear:?? Boots or runners/camera/picnic for along the way
Directions: ?The Land of the Giants - McMahon Park (Clare Lake) is located
in Claremorris town just off Lower James Street on the R331, Claremorris to Ballinrobe road.

A towering yellow door, a red chair that belongs in the world of Roald Dahl’s Big Friendly Giant and an enormous set of keys that can never be lost, dangling from a random tree.
“Clare and Morris live here, but nobody has ever seen them, let us know if you see them”.
Welcome to the Land of the Giants, the Forest Walk extension to the Clare Lake Walk in Claremorris.
Mayo has so many wonderful looped walks but The Land of the Giants is a first for Ireland, its handcrafted wood features will guide you around the 4.5 km route. Its family, buggy, bike and wheelchair friendly and with a total distance of 5km and a flat terrain, it’s a walk for all.
To start this walk, go through Claremorris and take the turn for the Ballinrobe Road. Continue to Clare Lake on your left, beside the playground and carpark. The parkland, known as Mc Mahon Park was generously donated by local families and lovingly restored by the McMahon Park Committee. The Land of the Giants extension was made possible with the support of local families who again donated the land and Coillte, whose forest the walk runs through.
Pass by the band stand, seating areas and over the hump back wooden bridge, one of the four bridges along the way. Watch out for a bridge further on that will bring you straight back to school!
Local craftsmen Tommy Casby, Martin Grogan and Martin Brady are the skilled and creative trio responsible for the fun filled features and signage along the trail that will bring a smile to your face.
The Clare Lake Loop hosts a myriad of trees, birds and animals. Native trees of Ash, Oak, Willow, Birch and Alder look onto the loop and act as cover for the wildlife that lives beneath them; foxes, rabbits, hares, hedgehogs, badgers, weasels, bats, frogs and field  mice. An information board along the way tells of 35 different species of birds that can be seen there.
The lake itself boosts history over 4000 years old, two Crannogs, one dating back 2000 years hides within the lake, and remains of a second Crannog over 4000 years old are located close to the wooden bridge.
The Clare Lake Loop and The Land of the Giants have a little bit of everything to entice you out for a leisurely stroll on a trail with a giant twist.

South West Mayo part funded Clare Lake Forest Greenway, which was developed by Claremorris Chamber in association with Mc Mahon Park Committee, Mayo County Council, Coillte and private landowners. Visit www.claremorrischamber.ie and www.mayowalks.ie for further information.

Cathleen Fergus works for South West Mayo Development Company as Rural Recreation Officer. Her job includes the design, development and promotion of walking and cycling trails. She can be contacted at living@mayonews.ie.