Official tourism website for Mourne Mountains and Ring of Gullion

Castlewellan Forest Park

Forest Park View, Castlewellan, County Down, BT31 9BU
View of the Annesley Walk in Castlewellan Forest Park

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Where is Castlewellan Forest Park located?

Castlewellan Forest Park is located on Forest Park View, Castlewellan, BT31 9BU, County Down, in a dramatic setting of mountains and sea,home to one of the most outstanding tree and shrub collections in Europe. The beauty, vigour and perfect shape of the trees in the National Arboretum attract tree enthusiasts from around the world. However, Castlewellan has numerous features that draw wider attention. The garden is a mixture of informal and formal design with terraces, fountains, ornamental gates and flower borders. To walk around the forest park's mile-long lake, encountering some intriguing modern sculptures on the way, is to enjoy a great experience of eighteenth-century landscaping.

The planting of the walled Annesley garden, the focus of the arboretum, was begun in the 1850s and rare conifers and maples were later imported directly from Japan. Then came the addition of more rich varieties, including Chilean eucryphias, Australian athrotaxis and pittosporum and Chinese rhododendrons. The arboretum holds many trees with record heights in the British Isles.

One of Northern Ireland's most famous lakes, a stunning Victorian Castle, incredible panoramic views, scenic walking trails, 27km of Mountain Bike Trails, Nature Play perfect for the kids, an onsite multi-activity centre, hedge maze and equestrian centre, Castlewellan Forest Park boasts all of this and more making it a must-visit for all ages.

Click here to find out more about Castlewellan Forest Park

How do I get to Castlewellan Forest Park from Belfast and from Dublin?

From Belfast follow the A24 through Ballynahinch, Seaforde and Clough.  In Clough follow the A25.  Castlewellan Forest Park is located in the town of Castlewellan on the right.  From Dublin follow the M1 to Newry.  From A1 take the exit towards Newry/A28/Downpatrick/A25.  Follow the A25 to Castlewellan.  The Forest park is located on the left in Castlewellan town. 

What are the Opening Hours of Castlewellan Forest Park?

Castlewellan Forest Park is open March and October 9am - 6pm. April and September 9am - 8pm.  May to August 9am - 9pm and November to February 9am - 5pm.

Is there a Play Park in Castlewellan Forest Park?

Yes and it is perfect for the kids. ‘Animal Wood’ is designed for four- to eleven-year-olds and is located beside Castlewellan Peace Maze. Featuring a short path, 'Animal Wood' provides lots of opportunities for playing on wild woodland animals including a badger and its den, a red squirrel, and a giant spider. In addition, it boasts a wooden play structure with a tower in the image of The Moorish Tower where children can enjoy the climbing wall, fireman’s pole and rope-bridge over to a hollow tree stump slide and Red Kite nest that are sure to keep the kids entertained!

Are dogs allowed in Castlewellan Forest Park?​​​​​​

Dogs are welcome at Castlewellan Forest Park but must be kept under control at all times. Dogs are not allowed in the Play Park or the Peace Maze.  Please pay attention to any localised safety signage when allowing your dog to swim or drink from the lake.

Where is the Peace Maze in Castlewellan Forest Park?

Beside ‘Animal Wood’ you’ll find the Peace Maze, one of the world's largest permanent hedge mazes representing the path to a peaceful future for Northern Ireland. Planted in 2000 with community involvement, visitors can attempt to solve their way to the peace bell in the centre of the maze.


Access available for people with limited mobility on scooter. Manual wheelchairs - the total distance including the Peace Maze and Gardens is around six miles.

Are there Picnic Facilities in Castlewellan Forest Park?

Yes.  The picnic tables are adjacent to the main car park.

Can I barbeque in Castlewellan Forest Park?

Yes, at the designated picnic tables only which are adjacent to the main car park.

What activities can you do in Castlewellan Forest Park?

The main activities include, walking, mountain biking, canoeing, fishing (with a permit), paddleboarding, horse-riding. Bikes, Kayaks, and Standup Paddle Boards can be hired from Life Adventure.  Please Note: swimming in Castlewellan lake is not permitted unless part of a Newry, Mourne and Down District Council approved event.

Is there a cafe in Castlewellan Forest Park?

There is no permanent cafe but a coffee cart operates during the summer months.

Can you stay in Castlewellan Castle?

No, the castle is a privately run conference centre.

How long are the walks in Castlewellan Forest Park?

Walking Trails
Slievenaslat Walk:  2.7 miles 
Moorish Tower Walk:  3.2. miles 
Lakeside Walk: 2.4 miles 
Annesley Garden Walk: 2.2 miles 
Cypress Pond Walk: 3.1 miles 
Bunkers Hill Walk & Play Trail: 1.2 miles 

Castlewellan Caravan and Camping Bookings

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  • Toilets for disabled visitors


  • Picnic Area
  • Tea-room/Cafe onsite

Children & Infants

  • Baby changing facilities

Establishment Features

  • Accept coach parties
  • Accommodation nearby
  • Family Fun
  • Toilets

Parking & Transport

  • Car parking
  • On site parking

Payment Methods

  • All major credit/debit cards accepted

Provider Preferences

  • Forest Location

Guide Prices

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
All-Park Car Permit£60.00 per ticket
All-Park Minibus Permit (8 - 24 Seats)£65.00
Coach (Over 24 Seats)£50.00
Minibus (Up to 24 Seats)£15.00
Single Park Season Car Permit£25.00

Access to Castlewellan Forest Park on foot or by bicycle is free. Charges apply for the parking of vehicles.

Route Guides

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Map & Directions

Opening Times

Castlewellan Forest Park and Peace Maze - April to September (1 Apr 2024 - 30 Sept 2024)
Monday - Sunday09:00 - 21:00
Bank HolidayOpen
Castlewellan Forest Park and Peace Maze - October (1 Oct 2024 - 31 Oct 2024)
Monday - Sunday09:00 - 18:00
Bank HolidayOpen
Castlewellan Forest Park and Peace Maze - November to February (1 Nov 2024 - 28 Feb 2025)
Monday - Sunday09:00 - 17:00
Bank HolidayOpen
Castlewellan Forest Park and Peace Maze - CLOSED Christmas Day (25 Dec 2024)

* Walled Garden
April to September – closes at 19:00
October to March – closes at 16:30

What's Nearby

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Map & Directions

Road Directions

From Belfast follow the A24 through Ballynahinch, Seaforde and Clough.  In Clough follow the A25.  Castlewellan Forest Park is located in the town of Castlewellan on the right.  From Dublin follow the M1 to Newry.  From A1 take the exit towards Newry/A28/Downpatrick/A25.  Follow the A25 to Castlewellan.  The Forest park is located on the left in Castlewellan town. 

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