7km (4.3 miles) round-trip, Moderate grade
The Tawnyard Forest Trail is in the Sheeffry Hills in the Tawnyard Wood, a coniferous forest managed by Coillte, the State forestry company. This walk is part of the Western Way, a linear 150km walking route from Leenane to Ballycastle in north Mayo.
The walk begins at the Coillte forest carpark at Tawnyard and goes to Houston’s Bridge and back – the total distance is 7km. Go through the wooden gates and follow the forest road. Along the way are beautiful views of Tawnyard Lough.
After 1.5km (0.9 miles), the trail turns right, down to the bridge crossing at the Owenduff River, one of the finest fishing rivers in the region. Here, you can see Ben Gorm (700m) to the southwest and Mweelrea (814m) to the west, the highest mountain in Connacht. The trail continues through the forest of lodgepole pines and onto a forest road that crosses through a bog to Houston’s Bridge. Here, you turn back to retrace your steps to the carpark.
A map of the trail is available here.
From Westport, head south on the Leenane Road (N59) about 8km (5 miles) to a crossroads signposted for Drummin, to the right. Continue about 13km (8 miles) on this road to the carpark on the left, signposted for Tawnyard.