Mosey through Mid Ulster
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These walks are perfect for those who want to get out and about this summer to enjoy nature at its best, without making the heart race.
The Argory: Circular walk and Blackwater River walk
There are a wide variety of walks at this fascinating place beside the River Blackwater, ranging from the easy and wheelchair accessible up to the slightly more demanding requiring stout footwear. The longer Circular Walk encompasses all of the paths around The Argory estate and mansion and then leaves the estate by either the entrance or exit gates. Crossing the road, follow the path into the woods, along the edge of The Argory mosses (which are boggy and dangerous), around the riding school (the former Land Steward’s house) and back to the main road. Other shorter walks, such as the River Walk, follow the banks of the Blackwater from Bond’s Bridge up to the meadows and then back to the car park, reception and shop. Look out for Irish hares, jays and grey squirrels, all of which are plentiful around the estate. You may be lucky enough to spot a heron or a kingfisher closer to the river.
Trail distance: Circular Walk 3.1 miles (5km). River Blackwater Walk 1.5miles (2km) circular
Springhill: Sawpit Hill walk
Springhill House is the prettiest house in Ulster and has a host of interesting walks around the fascinating estate. There are some pretty walks through the woodland along the entrance drive of the house but perhaps the best is the Sawpit Hill Walk. From the coach yard turn right to follow the path which leads to Tower Hill and wonderful views of Slieve Gallion and the Sperrins. Keeping the tower on your right, cross the summit of the hill through two gates along the clearly marked path. As you descend the hill to the west of the tower, a heronry can be seen at the summit of Sawpit Hill. This was once a nesting place for herons and is also the site on which a pit was dug to enable the joiners to saw the 43 feet (13m) long timbers which were used in the construction of the Drawing Room floor. Follow the path to Yew Grove and through a wrought iron gate which leads to the more formal walled gardens via Juniper Walk. Pass across the farmyard and turn right outside the gate towards the Lawn Field. A path is marked on the grass back to the main driveway. In the spring the snowdrops and daffodils are a sight to behold.
Trail distance: 2 miles (3.2km) circular
For more information on local walks, visit www.walkni.com (external link).