Gortin Glen Forest Park, Co Tyrone
Due to traffic diversions from the A5 beside the Ulster-American Folk Park near Omagh, we discovered Gortin Glen by chance.
At the western gateway to the Sperrins, Gortin is notable as a forest park based in a purely coniferous woodland planted solely to produce timber. Since 1967, the park of over 1,500 hectares has been developed as a major outdoor amenity, especially for educational purposes. Marked trails have been designed for youth groups and schools. Forest guides can be arranged and there is a camp site.
As indicated at the main car park, walkers can choose from a wide range of marked routes including orienteering trails. The nature trail covers many habitats. Displays impart information about the glen. The Pollan trail follows a pleasant route through the trees along the Pollan Burn. That Scottish term, meaning a brook or stream, reflects local history and plantations of a different kind. View the waterfall and return to the car park past Lodgepole pine and Sitka spruce.
For a slightly longer walk of about 3.5 km, follow the Ladies View trail. It's strenuous and rises at 350m to an excellent vista of the surrounding countryside. The main landscape features can be traced from a brass plate. Follow the path through diverse conifer woods back to the car park.