Estimated time 1 hour
Trail Surface Multi purpose
Gear Walking shoes, raingear (just in case), camera, picnic
The Neighbourwood Scheme has funded the development of attractive, close-to-home woodland amenities for public use and enjoyment throughout Ireland. Neighbourwoods provide communities with a natural setting to visit and enjoy whether it’s for walking, relaxing, exercising and or days out with family and friends. Neighbourwoods are also a great educational resource for the young and not so young, where everyone can learn about the environment on their doorstep.
Castlebar’s Raheens Wood, developed by Coillte, in partnership with Mayo County Council and the Forestry Service, is a shining example of this scheme. It is located less than two miles from Castlebar on the Newport Road. There are parking facilities for cars, bikes and mini buses, as well as picnic benches. Just last week I passed a group of well-wrapped-up people, enjoying a picnic in the spring sunshine.
Along with it being a nature trail, it’s also a walk dotted with unique points of interests that can be seen from the trail – one an eerie yet grand reminder of the large stately homes of times past, the other a monument to true love and heart break.
Raheens House and estate originally consisted of over 1,000 acres and was the residence of the Browne family. Even today in its derelict state, one can imagine its grandeur, from its entrance avenue to the abandoned stables, to the house itself. The cenotaph or obelisk stands 25 metres tall and was built by Dodwell Browne in memory of his second wife, Maria, who died some years after their marriage. Tragically for Dodwell, his first wife Elizabeth also died from illness.
Park up your car and follow the path straight ahead, passing an information board along the way that guides you around this trail. It is a self-guiding, wonderful trail that meanders through a delightful forest of Sitka Spruce and Japanese Larch and other hardwoods. It’s the perfect spot for a Sunday-afternoon picnic or a daily stroll; it’s a school day out; it’s a place of solitude to escape to; and it’s a place many of us have sped past either driving to Castlebar or Newport, oblivious until now that such a wonderful resource lay waiting to be discovered. Thanks to all those involved in the Neighbourwood Scheme, we can do so now.
At Castlebar, follow the directional signage for Newport, taking the R311. Raheens Wood is around two miles out this road on the left hand side.
*Please note: Both the house and cenotaph can only be seen from the trail, please respect private property.