‘Queen of the Glens’ is the largest and most famous of the nine glens, with beautiful scenery, magnificent waterfalls and 900 hectares of woodland. Entering Glenariff through the Red Bay Arch, built by Francis Turnly in 1817, you will pass Red Bay Harbor used in 1849 to export iron ore from Glenravel. On the right at the roadside you will see buildings in the rock face that where used in the 1700s by locals as schools and secret places of meeting. Shortly you will arrive at a left turn that will take you into Waterfoot village where you can gain access the beach that is home to the Heron, Shellduck, Kingfisher, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Gannets and Eider Ducks. The most interesting of these is the Ringed Plover that in order to protect it’s young from danger will pretend to have a broken wing thus luring the predator away from the nest, whilst this may look humorous it is obviously a life and death matter for the young vulnerable chicks in the nest.
The main attraction is Glenariff Forest Park that was started about 100 years ago when the first hazel, oak, ash and willow trees where planted to enhance the already plentiful woods. The 1185 ha park includes car parks, caravanning, camping sites, picnic, barbeque areas, horse riding routes, toilets, visitor center and several walking routes.
The walking routes vary from 1km to 9km in length, my favorite is the waterfall trail that takes you down a steep gorge with the waterfall shown above greeting you at the bottom. When there has been a lot of rain this waterfall has a chilling roar and as you walk across the bridge prepared to get sprayed! Follow the trail on down the gorge under the blanket of tree foliage soaking up the tranquility of the trickling river again to be greeted by more waterfalls. Stop in at the restaurant for a bite before strolling up thought he forest past the occasional squirrel and rabbit.
Open from 10am until sunset.
2002 Fees: Car £3.00; Motorbike £2.00; Minibus £8.00; Coach £20.00; Pedestrian Adult £1.50; Child £0.50