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Marlbank Scenic Loop

 

(between Florencecourt and Blacklion)

7 Killykeeghan & Crossmurrin

Marlbank National Nature Reserve

(Marlbank National Nature Reserve - part of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark)

This nature reserve’s limestone grassland is managed through conservation grazing and is characterised by low growing plants such as thyme and bird’s foot trefoil.Bird’s foot trefoil is the food plant of the caterpillars of the rare dingy skipper butterfly, which can be found here in early summer together with the common blue and another rarity, the marsh fritillary butterfly. 

In places the limestone is overlain by patches of more acidic soils which, in early June, are swathed with pink heath-spotted orchids. Scattered lesser butterfly orchids also occur here, their flowers mimicking white moths which are thus lured to pollinate them. 

Rarities found here include field gentian and the small white mountain orchid. Hazel scrub has found a niche within the nature reserve as well. Here you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a red squirrel, pine martens or Irish stoat. Cuckoos can be heard calling as they seek out meadow pipits’ nests in which to lay their eggs.

How to get there

‚The Nature Reserves can be accessed from the Marlbank Scenic Loop.
A signposted car park is located approximately 1 mile/1.6km from the Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre entrance.

Trail Information, Facilities & Access

  • ‚ ‚A short looped walk over a grass path on flat terrain with some obstacles and low hanging vegetation in hazel groves. ‚ 
  • Facilities include interpretation panels, picnic tables and a public toilet. ‚ 
  • On the site an old traditional cottage has been restored and is open to the public.

8 Cladagh Glen

Cladagh Glen

(Marlbank National Nature Reserve - part of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark)

The main interest of the Cladagh River Glen is it’s geology with the Marble Arch and the cascades being the highlights of this water-sculptured valley. The wooded glen is very atmospheric and makes for a magical walk for adults and children alike with its twists and turns revealing yet another inspiring scene involving rock, water, trees and dappled sunshine. The glen has some fine planted trees of beech and various conifers, along with native hazels, ash and yew trees. 

In springtime anemones and wild garlic carpet the valley floor, while toothwort can be found growing as a parasite on the roots of some of the hazel trees. Dippers and grey wagtails can be seen on the rocks in the middle of the fastflowing Cladagh River, while in late summer silver-washed fritillaries occur beside the path.

How to get there

‚There are two access points, the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark Visitors Centre or via the Cladagh Glen carpark. 

From Enniskilllen take the Sligo road, A4 for 3 miles before branching left onto the Swanlinbar road, A32. 

Join the Florencecourt to Blacklion road where there is signage for both the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark Visitor Centre and Cladagh Glen car park. 

Trail Information, Facilities & Access

  • There is a linear waymarked walking route 1.25 miles/2kmlong. 
  • This walk is over uneven and steep terrain. ‚ 
  • Cladagh Glen carpark is open all year round. ‚ 
  • Marble Arch Visitor Centre is open from late March to September all week from 10am -5pm. 
  • Facilities include Carpark, Restauraunt, Shop, Toilets, Information panel, Public Telephone.

9 Cuilcagh Mountain

Cuilcagh Mountain

(part of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark)

Cuilcagh is an established location for hill-walkers with a network of trails that lead you in and around the Mountain Park. If reaching the summit is not for you, venturing someway into the park using one of the walking routes will give you a taste of the bleak beauty that can be found here. The trail to the summit of Cuilcagh crosses a number of distinct habitats, first limestone, then the extensive blanket bog and finally after a tumble of rocks the steep cliff to the summit. 

At the beginning of the trail look to your right at the Monastir Gorge and notice the yew clinging to its precipitous sides and the juniper beside the path. These were the first tree species to colonise Ireland at the end of the last Ice Age some 10,000 years ago. The vegetation colour dramatically changes from green to brown where the trail leaves the limestone and heads across the peat of the blanket bog, now cross-leaved heather, bog cotton and yellow bog asphodel are abundant. Meadow pipits, skylarks and hen harriers occur in this area while golden plover breed in small numbers on the bog. 

The steep north-facing scarp below the summit plateau and chasms on the plateau itself, have arcticalpine plants: starry saxifrage, three species of clubmoss, mountain willow and Bigelow’s sedge. Foxes and Irish hares are frequently seen and in winter snow buntings have been recorded.

How to get there

‚From Enniskillen take the Sligo road A4 for 3 miles before branching left onto the Swanlinbar road A32. 
Join the Florencecourt to Blacklion road where there is signage for the Marble Arch caves Visitor Centre and the Cuilcagh Mountain Park.

Trail Information, Facilities & Access

  • The Cuilcagh Way is a five section way marked 20mile/33km route. 
  • The walks offer challenging routes and impressive views. 
  • Carpark, picnic area, information panel.