Glenariff, County Antrim

Glenariff, situated in Northern Ireland, is the largest and most popular of the Glens of Antrim . The area is extremely picturesque and is often referred to as the ‘Queen of the Glens’. A glen is another word for valley and is of Celtic origin having derived from the words gleann, or glion. It is typically used to refer to a valley that has been shaped by glacial action during the Ice Age.

Glenariff Forest Park is the principle attraction in the region and has been so for well over a hundred years. Most of the park is planted with trees and it now covers 2928 acres having incorporated Parkmore Forest. The park also features a number of small lakes and open recreational spaces which add to the park’s already considerable charm.

Two rivers flow across the park, the Inver and the Glenariff. It is these that provide the spectacular waterfalls which have long attracted the traveller and tourist to the region. The aptly named village of Waterfoot lies at the foot of the glen, on the Antrim coast.

The park is a great place for walkers and the unique Waterfall Walkway, first opened 80 years ago, is a very popular route. The trail has been upgraded along its three mile length and takes you on a wonderful journey through the National Nature Reserve, a deep rocky gorge bedecked with ferns, mosses and liverworts. As part of the upgrade the old Rainbow Bridge was replaced with a replica as the old one was showing its age. The new bridge also eases access for the disabled and offers breathtaking views.

The outstanding natural beauty of the glen has long drawn photographers to the area . The visitor centre in the park has an exhibition and an interactive display that includes some wonderful photography. The centre also has a shop, a seasonal restaurant and a caravan/camping site (open Easter - October).

The area is very popular with anglers who can enjoy very good fishing both along the Causeway Coastline and on the various inland rivers, streams and lakes. Cyclists have also been drawn to the glen and the coastline for many years. The 120 mile Causeway Coastal Route provides the perfect place to spend a week or more enjoying the scenery on a bike.

With a long history as a significant tourist attraction the area is well served with accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets.

More British Natural features?

Other County Antrim Naturals

Giants Causeway
Lough Neagh
Glens of Antrim
Ballycarry, Rathlin Island
Belfast Hills

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