I’m fresh off the back of doing the Ravensdale Forest Walk and, while the weather was cat, it was a lovely little ramble.
Especially as you can pair it with a post-walk feed at the very cosy Lumpers Bar (10-minute drive) or the equally cosy Fitzpatrick’s (12-minute drive).
Although there are several trails to tackle here, in this guide, I’m going to focus on the Ravensdale Forest Circular, which is a roughly 8.5km / 3 hour trail.
Below, you’ll find info on parking, difficulty and an overview of what is one of the less-trodden walks in Louth.
Some quick need-to-knows about the Ravensdale Forest Walks
Although a visit to Ravensdale Forest is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
1. Parking (+ warning)
There’s a tiny parking area at the start of the Ravensdale Walk trail (here on Google Maps). We arrived at 8am on a wet and wild Saturday, thinking it’d be empty, but we got the last remaining space. On a fine day, I’d say parking here can be a nightmare.
2. Several trails
There are a number of different trails that you can head off on from Ravensdale (e.g. the Ravensdale woods to Carnamhadaigh). This guide takes you through the Ravensdale Forest Circular.
3. How long it takes
When we did the circular route a couple of weeks back, in early January, it took roughly 3 hours in total to complete and the trail stretched for around 8.5km.
This is a moderately difficulty walk, mainly due to the bit of an incline at the beginning. For the most part, this should be a nice and doable walk for those with a half-decent level of fitness.
About Ravensdale Forest
You’ll find Ravensdale Forest tucked away at the foot of the Cooley Mountains, a 20-minute drive from both Dundalk and Warrenpoint.
The area is home to a clatter of archaeological features; there’s several standing stones, a beautiful, Lord-of-The-Rings-style-bridge (see photo below) and Clermont Cairn.
The trails are in reasonably good condition, but you’d want a decent pair of walking shoes after heavy rain, as it gets mucky in places.
Ravensdale Park tends to get overlooked by many visiting this part of Louth, with Carlingford tending to steal a good chunk of the attention.
The result is a much less trodden trail that’s especially quiet early in the morning. You’ll find several woodland trails at Ravensdale, a couple of which take you to the summit of Black Mountain.
An overview of the Ravensdale Forest Circular
This trail was very handy to follow for about 90% of the walk. The only time we went wrong was about 25 minutes in, when we missed the left turn that takes you further up into the forest (info below).
Starting the walk
From the car park, take the trail on the left (you can’t miss it). This leads you up a very uneven, mucky path through the trees before veering to the right and then levelling out.
From here, you follow a gravel track for around 15-20 minutes before a left turn becomes visible ahead.
Getting into the belly of the walk
The trail is nice and handy to follow after you take the left turn, and it continues uphill at a gradual incline. If you visit on a clear day, you’ll enjoy views to your right while you stroll.
The path zig-zags for a while until you reach an opening in the forest. From here, you’ll be treated to lovely views out over the surrounding countryside.
Making your way back to the car park
When you’ve had your fill of the views, keep following the trail and you’ll eventually start to descend. You reach another clearing after a bit; there’s a barrier on the right and a path that descends on the left.
Take the left and keep on going. You’ll eventually rejoin the path you followed in the beginning that leads to the car park.
Things to do near Ravensdale Park
One of the beauties of Ravensdale is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit in Louth.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Ravensdale (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. The Cooley Peninsula Drive (start it from Ravensdale)
The Cooley Peninsula Drive is a roughly 2-hour scenic drive that takes you around one of Ireland’s most over-looked peninsulas. Home to beaches, more hikes, towns, villages and numerous ancient sites, it’s a nice follow-up to the Ravensdale Park walk.
2. The Annaloughan Loop Walk (15-minute drive)
You start the Annaloughan Loop Walk from the car park at Fitzpatrick’s Bar & Restaurant (you can nip in here for a bite-to-eat, too!). This is an 8km looped walk that should take around two hours and forty-five minutes to complete.
3. Carlingford (25-minute drive)
There’s plenty of things to do in Carlingford, from King John’s Castle and the Carlingford Greenway to the Carlingford Lough Ferry, the Slieve Foye Loop, Carlingford Adventure Centre and much, much more.
FAQs about the Ravensdale Walks
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is Ravensdale Park worth visiting?’ to ‘Which trail is the best?’.
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.
How long are the Ravensdale Forest Walks?
They vary from 1 hour to 6 hours. In this guide, we take you through a 3-hour trail that’ll be doable for those with decent fitness levels.
Are the Ravensdale Walks hard?
If you have a moderate level of fitness, you should find the trail mentioned above very doable. There’s some incline to conquer, but the trail is very flat in places, too.