There’s nothing like a nice long stroll in the countryside, it will put colour in your cheeks and tire out the kids! Here are some great ideas for family walks in Westmeath that are ideal for a leisurely ramble with the kids.
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Rivers, ruins and rambles are all waiting to be discovered on these diverse walks in Westmeath. Pack a picnic and make the most of the unique sights.
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Get Some Fresh Air With These Walks in Westmeath
#1. Lough Derravaragh
Legend has it that the Children of Lir were turned to swans on Lough Derravaragh, giving this Westmeath walk a magical air.
The lake is popular for angling and other watersports, while looped walking trails offer plenty of opportunity for bird spotting, nature hunts, and family adventures.
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#2. Fore Abbey
Another of our favourite walks in Westmeath is the award-winning St Fechin’s Trail in Fore, near Castlepollard. Take the 3km looped walk in the beautiful unspoilt countryside that brings visitors through thousands of years of early Christian Heritage.
The ruins of a Norman Monastery can be seen on the site, and make a fantastic backdrop for a family picnic. Alternatively, there are several options for refreshments, including Jane’s Coffee Shop, The Abbey Bar and Lounge, and the Seven Wonders Bar.
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#3. Mullaghmeen Forest
Mullaghmeen Forest, near Castlepollard, is the largest planted beech forest in Ireland, boasting over 1,000 acres to explore. Along with beech, Mullaghmeen is also home to Sitka spruce, Scots pine and Noble fir, as well as interesting native species.
There is an extensive network of paths for walking, with options to suit all abilities and ages, including a summit trail with views over Lough Sheeling and into County Cavan.
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#4. Belvedere House and Gardens
Belvedere House and Gardens is a truly magical spot and incorporates 160 acres of grounds, with 10kms of serene trails along the lakeshore and through the woodlands. The trails provide the opportunity to explore the flora and fauna at Belvedere. Some trees throughout the estate have been planted for hundreds of years. In addition there is a walled garden and arboretum with many exotic plants and a fairy garden for younger members of the family.
Belvedere House hosts nature themed events throughout the year including Bat Walks, Dawn Chorus and Tree Walks.
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#5. Royal Canal Greenway
The Royal Canal runs 145km from Dublin to the River Shannon. The Greenway is an attractive waterside trail that provides a safe and scenic route for cyclists and walkers.
The 32km Westmeath stretch of the Greenway runs from the Meath/Westmeath border to Abbeyshrule in County Longford. You can walk or cycle for the whole day, or just for a short stroll as there are several access point to the trail from various public roads.
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#6. Westmeath Way
The Westmeath Way stretches 33km from Kilbeggan to Mullingar. The best stretch of this route follows a section of the River Brosna, then north to the townland of Lilliput on the shores of Lough Ennell.
The remainder of the route follows road, fields and woodland path to the north end of the lake, and from there by road and canal tow path into Mullingar. The latter stages can be follow busy roads, so would not be wholly suitable for young children.
#7. Donore Wood
Donore Wood, located near Multyfarnham, is situated on the southern shore of Lough Derravaragh and has a rich natural and human history.
Donore is home to many species of birds and wild animals. Badger, fox and grey squirrel are the more common species. The wood has a rich variety of wild plants found among the grasses and sedges.
#8. Tullynally Castle and Gardens
This privately owned Castle is open to the public on Thursdays to Sundays, from March to September. There are over 12 acres of garden in all, divided between walled gardens, extensive woodland gardens and 2 ornamental lakes.
Marked walking trails can be found, and this is a perfect garden for children to explore – pick up the children’s treasure trail in the Tea Rooms and let the kids explore the gardens looking for excitement.
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#9. Portlick Millenium Forest
Situated on the eastern shore of Lough Ree, approximately 5km northwest of Glassan and 8km north of Athlone, Portlick is a native hazel/ash woodland with lesser amounts of oak, whitebeam, holly, alder, willow, birch and hawthorn. The forest floor is home to woodrush, bluebell, primrose, wood sorrel, violet, ivy, lords and ladies and bramble. All in all, it is a great adventure spot for kids with plenty to see along the way.
The trail itself is 5km, although shorter options are available.
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#10. Athlone Town Walk
Set at the geographical heart of Ireland, Athlone has been the River Shannon’s main crossing since medieval times. Its turbulent history has given way to a midlands tourist hub, a link between the east and west anchored by its handsome arched bridge.
Start at the quay wall at Athlone Castle, then follow the 5km looped trail in either direction to experience the sights and history of Athlone.
Do you have a favourite spot to go for family walks in Westmeath? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!