West Cork Walking Trails
You will be spoiled for choice for interesting and stunning West Cork Walking Trails during your stay in Bantry. We have so much to choose from we have host Bantry’s Walking Festival each year in June . http://bantrywalkingfestival.com/ .
Bantry has a wealth of heritage, natural and built, from sea, woodlands and mountains, to Bantry House, the Kilnaurane Pillar stone and story of Wolfe Tone. The aim is to take walkers on a tour of many of the heritage points of interest in and around the town.
The walks vary from 2.5m to 5km plus, but they can be linked together to form a walk of more than 20km. Most of the walks use pavements, paths and small roads, so are suitable for all the family. For the more adventurous there is the possibility of striking out across the peak of Knocknaveagh, which provides stunning views over the town and bay. The walks are complemented by a series of interpretative boards erected by Bantry Tourism, Failte Ireland and Cork County Council.
You can chose from the Abbey and Rope Walk Loop ,an easy 4km plus short side trip to Kilnaruane Pillar stone.
The Beicin Loop walk is a 2.5 km walk that passes St Brendan’s Church and continues along the northern side of Bantry Harbour, with its flocks of gulls and parties of mute swans. Passing the site of the former railway station, you reach the old railway pier. After the pier, a new promenade runs along the sea front, backed by banks of gorse (furze). Marine animals to look out for include terns, which breed on nearby Horse Island, and harbour seals. The walk loops back to the start point via the streets and back-roads of Bantry, partially following the route of the old railway which existed in Bantry until the 1960s.
Knocknaveagh and Vaughan’s Pass is a walk takes you to a viewing point high above Bantry Bay with fantastic panoramic views over the town and across the bay to the mountains beyond.
The Donemark Loop starting at the Peace Park, which is a small formal garden owned by Cork County Council with a fledgling community orchard planted by Sustain West Cork, the route heads out of town along the pavement. Along the way there is a plaque, which marks the site where a Priest´s horse reputedly leapt from a pass above Coomhola 16km away. At area where the two bridges cross the Mealagh River, is Dún na mBarc or ´fort of the ships´ where the first people to arrive in Ireland are thought to have landed. The walk loops back following part of the original Glengarriff road before the new bridge and road was built in the late 1830s.
The Ladys Well and Airstrip loop is a 5km walk . The first half of this walk features lovely views over Bantry Bay and an interesting religious site known as Lady´s Well with a mass rock dating from penal times. After Lady’s Well, small country roads bring you down to the seashore, where there is a little used airstrip and great views across to Whiddy Island
You can take in Drimoleague Heritage Trails, ramble the scenic Mealagh Valley, Explore Whiddy Island or Hike the 13 different Loop walks on the European Destination of Excellence -Sheeps Head peninsula . http://livingthesheepsheadway.com/category/sheeps-head-way-loop-walks/
All of the stunning Sheep’s Head loop walks are colour-coded and so each route is easy to follow. Each of the Sheep’s Head loop walks will take you between one and seven hours to complete. The Sheep’s Head loop walks radiate from trailheads at Drimoleague, Bantry, Ahakista, Kilcrohane, Black Gate, and Tooreen near the tip of the Sheep’s Head peninsula.
At every turn, you’ll find spectacular views across Dunmanus Bay, Bantry Bay, the West Cork islands and our neighbouring Mizen and Beara peninsulas.