Castle Coole Beech Trail
A tranquil walk on paths through the Beech Wood at Castle Coole, passing the 18th century Ice House.
Visitor car park
Begin from the car park at Castle Coole. Head through the archway into the Grand Yard, passing the second-hand bookshop and into the Tunnel Yard.
Cross the yard and take the steps. Turn left at the top onto the Beech walk. Continue along the path, keeping to the left.
The 'Bluebell Walk'
The Beech wood was planted in 1709 and contains some of the oldest tree specimens on the estate. It was sometimes referred to as the 'Ladies Walk' or the 'Bluebell Walk' as it was a favourite of the daughters of the 4th Earl who also planted many of the bluebells you'll see carpeting the ground in Spring.
After a few hundred metres, a detour to the left will take you to the 18th century Ice House. Once you're finished there. return back up the hill and join the path once again.
The Ice House
The Ice House dates back to 1794 and is shaped like an inverted cone with a vaulted top for hanging meats. When a local pond froze over, the men of the estate would be tasked with collecting the ice and packing it into the Ice House, hammering it in with salt and covering it with hay to keep it from the air. Servants would make the journey regularly to chip off ice to use in the house, keeping food and drinks cool and making ice-cream.
Continue on the path through the trees until you reach a junction. At this point you can extend your walk onto the Gortgonnell path on the left and add another 30 minutes to your walk, or you can turn right to pass by the house and return to the yard to finish your walk.
If you've chosen to continue to the Gortgonnell path, you'll reach the main drive at Castle Coole. Turn right here to continue on round to the car-park, passing the south front of the house and the Pump House on the left.
The main drive is lined with oak trees and is known as the Oak Avenue and dates back to the 17th century. Many of the oak specimens are veteran or ancient, with one particular oak tree having a staggering width of 25 feet (7.7m)!
Visitor car park
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