Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark
Cuilcagh Mountain Park
Cuilcagh Mountain Park takes in 2,500 hectares on the northern slopes of Cuilcagh Mountain in southern Fermanagh and is at the heart of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark. Cuilcagh Mountain Park, together with the nearby Marble Arch Caves, was awarded UNESCO European Geopark status in 2001 and Global Geopark status in 2004, in recognition of the area’s geological heritage. At 665 metres (2,188 feet) above sea level Cuilcagh Mountain Park is the highest point in Fermanagh and one of the flagship sites in the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark.
There are 2 walking trails available to reach the summit of Cuilcagh Mountain in Fermanagh.
These two trails are sections of the Cuilcagh Way, a long distance trail that explores some of the most idyllic landscapes of Fermanagh including the Cladagh Glen, Cuilcagh Mountain Park and Florence Court Forest. For more information on the Cuilcagh Way visit the Walk NI website.
1. Cuilcagh Boardwalk (Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail)
7.4km to Cuilcagh Mountain Summit (14.8km round trip) The Cuilcagh Boardwalk is 1.6 km in length and is located at the end of a 5.8km limestone gravel track.
OSNI or OSI Discoverer Series Map – Sheet 26
Gravel track, wooden boardwalk, and exposed mountain path. Full mountain precautions and experience required.
Car parking, picnic tables. There are toilets available at the Marble Arch Caves visitor centre.
How to get there
The starting point for the Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail (car park) can be found on the Marlbank Road, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh BT92 1EW. It is approximately 500m from the entrance to the world famous Marble Arch Caves. Follow the brown signage for Cuilcagh Mountain Park off the Marble Arch Road. An information panel in the car park provides additional information on the walk and general area.
The Cuilcagh Legnagbrocky Trail is a linear route which will appeal to walkers with some experience walking in the hills. The route is quite isolated and showcases the scenic wilderness of Cuilcagh Mountain. The trail meanders along a quiet farmland track before traversing a wooden boardwalk that consists of a steady climb to the mountain face. Here a stepped boardwalk climbs through steep terrain and boulder fields before reaching the summit plateau. This boardwalk was constructed in order to protect the rare and sensitive blanket bog habitat that stretches here as far as the eye can see. A rough mountain path negotiates the wild summit plateau for a few kilometres before reaching an ancient cairn (the remains of a burial mound dating from the Bronze Age 2,500 – 500 BC) that stands at 666 metres (2,182 ft) above sea level. On a good day you’ll enjoy 360 degree views of the Sligo Mountains, Upper Lough Erne, The Atlantic Ocean as well as counties Cavan, Leitrim and Donegal.
To ensure the sustainable development and enjoyment of the area for all, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has issued the following visitor information and guidance:
- Be mindful of your environment and always park responsibly. Never block access or park on private land
- Always be prepared for the outdoors. Mountain weather conditions can change very quickly. Ensure you have suitable footwear, clothing, map, ample water and snacks (please note mobile phone reception in the area is poor)
- Follow the ‘Leave no trace’ principles to ensure the stunning landscape is kept in pristine condition for everyone to enjoy. Always bring your rubbish home
- Please be aware that to reach the start of the boardwalk you must first walk approximately 5 kilometres of gravel track from the Cuilcagh Mountain Park car park
For further information on visiting Cuilcagh Mountain Park please telephone the Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre on 028 6634 8855 or visit www.marblearchcavesgeopark.com.
2. Cuilcagh Hikers Trail
9km to Cuilcagh Mountain Summit (18km round trip)
OSNI or OSI Discoverer Series Map – Sheet 26
Mostly mountain blanket bog, crossing wet, uneven ground. Full mountain precautions and experience required. This is a very isolated route through truly wild countryside.
Car parking, picnic tables. There are no toilets available at this site.
How to get there
The starting point for the Cuilcagh Hikers Trail (car Park) is at Gortalughany viewpoint, Carran Road, Gortalughany, Enniskillen, BT92 3BF. Follow the brown signs for Gortalughany viewpoint off the Swanlinbar Road (A32) between Swanlinbar and Florence Court. An information panel at the car park provides additional information on the walk and general area.
The Cuilcagh Hikers trail is a linear route which begins at Gortalughany viewpoint which offers fantastic views over Upper Lough Erne, Benaughlin Mt, Slieve Rushen, and much of counties Cavan and Fermanagh. It follows a rough lane until it reaches the townland of Aghatirourke where it meets the head of the Legacurragh dry valley. From here it follows the waymarker posts into the expanse of blanket bog on the slopes of Cuilcagh Mountain, it can be very wet here and so appropriate hiking boots are a must. After crossing streams and peat hags you’ll be met with the steep grassy slope that leads you to the summit plateau.
These trails that traverse Cuilcagh Mountain cross lands that are in the ownership or management of private landowners, farmers, Forest Service NI, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark.
Walkers should act responsibly and respect the landowners’ and other parties’ wishes by adhering to any signage relating to rules and regulations, walk closures, or closures or diversions to facilitate forestry, agricultural and other essential operations.
In giving land access, land owners and management authorities do not accept responsibility for your safety. These are walks in truly natural surroundings including steep ground, rocky scree, uneven surfaces, and boggy sections. You are responsible for your own safety and that of your party.
No camping, cycling, horse riding, fires, or dogs are permitted on these trails
These trails traverse agricultural land which may contain livestock at any time of the year.
Health and Safety
Know your route
It is important to choose a route that suits everyone in your group. You are strongly recommended to walk on Cuilcagh Mountain with a OSNI or OSI Discoverer Series map (Sheet 26). Make sure to stay to the waymarked trail throughout your walk. Be aware that mobile reception in the area is poor, so let someone know where you have gone and when you are expected back.
Check the Weather Forecast and plan accordingly
Weather conditions on Cuilcagh can be quick to change and inhospitable all year round making navigation difficult in poor visibility at any time of year. Even in summer time the high winds and rain on the summit can create very low temperatures.
Be prepared for 4 seasons in one day
Equip yourself for walking in a mountainous area. You will need waterproof clothing, hiking boots, spare cloths, map, compass or GPS, first aid kit, as well as food and drink. Make sure all people in your group are equally prepared.
In an Emergency
In the event of an emergency call the PSNI on 000 or 101 & and ask for Mountain Rescue:
- Police Service NI, Enniskillen +44 (0) 845 600 8000
- Garda Station, Blacklion +353 (0) 4368807
- South West Acute Hospital A&E, Enniskillen +44 (0) 28 6638 2000
If you wish to organise, advertise or run a walking event up Cuilcagh Mountain using either of these trails, then you must seek permission from the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark (MACGG). Relevant application forms are available from the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark and permission must be sought and granted by the Geopark in good time prior to organising your event.
In order to protect the sensitive habitats of Cuilcagh Mountain as well as the health and safety of all individuals involved in organised events there are certain guidelines and regulations that all organised events on Cuilcagh Mountain need to adhere to.
For more information on organising walking events on Cuilcagh Mountain in County Fermanagh please contact:
Geopark Supervisor: Simon Gray
T: 028 66 348 855