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A Guide To Courtown Woods In Wexford: A Gorgeous Spot For A Stroll

A Guide To Courtown Woods In Wexford: A Gorgeous Spot For A Stroll

If you’re looking for forest walks in Wexford, get yourself down to Courtown Woods.

For a small seaside fishing village, Courtown has got a lot going for it (there’s heaps of things to do in Courtown!).

Not content with having a fine sandy beach and one of Ireland’s best chippers (The Dinky Takeaway), the Courtown Woods are home to some lovely trails that anyone can enjoy.

In the guide below, you’ll find everything you need to know about the Courtown Woods walks, from parking to the trails.

Some quick need-to-knows about Courtown Woods

photo of Courtown Beach in wexford

Photo by
VMC on

Although a visit to Courtown Woods is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location

You’ll find the Courtown Woods just to the north of Courtown itself on the north Wexford coast. It’s a 10-minute drive from Gorey, a 30-minute drive from Enniscorthy and a 45-minute drive from Wexford Town.

2. Opening hours

The Courtown Woods are open 24 hours a day all year, but, obviously, try to visit during daylight hours to avoid getting lost when night falls. 

3. Parking

Walk one and two below kick-off at this car park here while walk 3 and 4 start at the car park on the opposite side to the beach, here.

4. Four trails to tackle

There are four trails to tackle at Courtown Woods. Each is pretty easy going and can be walked in less than an hour. Coming in at around 2k, the River Walk is the longest of the four but should only take 40 minutes to complete. 

5. Guided walk

This 2.5 hour guided walk of the woods offers an insight into the area along with Celtic paganism. It’s racked up some solid reviews online and may be worth considering if you’re looking to explore the area with a guide.

About Courtown Woods

Courtown Woods Wexford

Photo left: @roxana.pal. Right: @naomidonh

Flanked by the Owenavorragh River on the north side and the canal on the seaward side to the east, Courtown Woodland dates back to pre-Famine times and was once home to oak and ash trees.

Acquired by the State in the late 1950s, the 25-acre site was then planted with commercial timber. 

The canal was constructed under a Famine relief scheme in 1847 and, as you choose your walk along the River Walk, Top Walk, Canal Walk or High Cross Walk, you are following in the footsteps of the previous Lords and Ladies of Courtown and their visitors. 

For anyone with a keen eye for trees, you should be able to spot Californian redwood, swamp cypress, Japanese cedar, cedar of Lebanon and a number of pine, yew and true cypresses. 

The different Courtown Woods walks

There are four Courtown Woods walks are fairly easy to follow, once you have a look at the trail in advance.

Below, you’ll find an overview of each walk along with a map showing the trail route.

1. The River Walk

river walk

Map with thanks to Sport Ireland

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 1.9km
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Format: Loop

Kicking off with the longest of the trails, the River Walk (see highlighted section on map) is almost 2km long and follows the red waymarks all the way around. 

Keeping to the red waymarks, enter near the car park and turn left when you get into the woods. Keep going until you reach the 2.5m high High Cross of Kilbride and then head north to the river Owenavoragh, before turning back east alongside the river. 

Continue along the river before looping back and finishing up at the car park. 

2. The Canal Walk

Canal Walk

Map with thanks to Sport Ireland

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 1km
  • Time: 25 minutes
  • Format: Loop

The Canal Walk (see highlighted section on map) is much shorter and much simpler than the River Walk, and is perfect for a quick ramble. 

Leaving from the car park, follow the green waymarks this time and keep heading north once you enter the woods. Eventually, the trail will loop around and you’ll find yourself walking back south but this time it’ll be alongside the gentle flow of the Courtown Canal (hence the name!). 

Continue along the canal before finishing back up at the car park. 

3. The High Cross Walk

High Cross Walk

Map with thanks to Sport Ireland

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 1km
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Format: Loop

The High Cross Walk (see highlighted section on map) is an easy half-hour loop that passes by the famous High Cross of Kilbride. Following the brown waymarks, you’ll need to follow the route for the River Walk from the car park to reach this walk. 

When you do find the brown waymarks, it’s just a simple loop to follow and you’ll want to keep an eye out for the inscribed cross that’s thought to date back to the 9th or 10th century Follow the River trail back to the car park. 

4. The Top Walk

top walk courtown

Map with thanks to Sport Ireland

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 1.2km
  • Time: 35 minutes
  • Format: Loop

Starting from the entrance on Ballinatray Lower, the Top Walk (see highlighted section on map) is marked by blue waymarks and essentially takes you through the main central chunk of the woods. Though its name might sound lofty, the elevation gain is only 54ft!

Head into the woods and turn left at the fork, walking in a clockwise direction. Make your way around the loop following the blue waymarks and enjoy the surrounding woods and myriad trees. Finish by heading back west around the loop and ending at the entrance on Ballinatray Lower.

Things to do near Courtown Woods

One of the beauties of Courtown Woods is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best things to do in Wexford.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Courtown Woods.

1. Seal Rescue Ireland (1-minute drive)

Seal Rescue Wexford

Photos via Seal Rescue Ireland on FB

Based in Courtown, Seal Rescue Ireland (SRI) is a registered charity dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of sick, injured and orphaned seals from across the coast of Ireland. 

They’re great for a feel-good family visit, where you can help the staff feed the seals and watch them dive and compete for fish. 

2. Courtown Beach (3-minute drive)

courtown beach

Photos via Shutterstock

An International Blue Flag beach award winner in 2018, Courtown Beach is right in the heart of Courtown and is ideal for walks, dips and picnics. The northern end of the beach is best for swimming and water sport activities, while there are loads of shops, pubs and restaurants nearby to enjoy afterward. 

3. Tara Hill (15-minute drive)

Tara Hill Wexford

Photo left @femkekeunen. Right: Shutterstock

While Tara Hill isn’t the biggest of hills, its isolated location means that it dominates its surrounding landscape and gives some deadly views of Wexford and the nearby coast! Just a 15-minute drive from Courtown, there are a couple of trails to hit here that offer both beautiful scenery and some interesting history too. 

FAQs about visiting Courtown Woods

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘How long are the walks?’ to ‘Where’s best to park?’.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

Is Courtown Woods worth visiting?

Yes! This is one of the more unique forests in this part of Ireland, as you’ll get views of the beach as you stroll. There’s four easy-to-follow trails suitable for most fitness levels.

How long doe the Courtown Woods walks take?

The longest of the trails takes around 40 minutes while the shortest comes in at around 25.

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