The lands which comprise Rossmore Forest Park was formerly part of the barony of Rossmore. A castle was constructed in 1827 - the remains can still be seen in the park. As with many estates of the time, Rossmore fell into decline during the mid 20th century and the estate was subsequently divided among the local farmers with the Irish Forestry Division acquiring the forested areas. Rossmore Castle was demolished in 1974. The castle walls and entrance stairway are one of a number of interesting viewing points in the park - others include a walled garden, a wedge tomb and a court tomb. The forestry comprises a mixture of coniferous and broadleaf trees - predominant species are Norway spruce, Sitka spruce, Douglas fir, oak and beech. Many of the original estate trees remain - notably Scots pine, cedars and monkey puzzle. The main avenue leading to the car park displays several large Sierra or giant redwoods while an avenue of yew trees runs a full 460 meters from the walled garden to the mausoleum in the graveyard. With such a diversity of habitats it is not surprising that mammals such as otters, badger, fox, and hedgehog and pigmy shrew are to be found here. There is a large population of birds such as warblers, swallows, cuckoo and flycatchers. Three walking loops were developed in the park in 2007 – this is the longest of the three. The Lake Loop passes eight lakes of varying sizes and covers 8kms - but there are a number of points along the route to take a ‘shortcut’ to the trailhead by following signposts to the Car Park.
A-B. Starting from the car park follow the signpost for the Lake Walk. Cross a wooden bridge and climb the path to behind the toilets. Here, take the sandy path that leads to the right and soon joins the banks of Castle Lough. Continue to follow the sandy path and the white arrows to a T-junction where you turn left and, after 300m reach a junction with a pointy thingey! Turn sharp right here.
B-C. The loop now sweeps around Priestfield Lough and passes a Giant Redwood, and Lady Rossmores Cottage (in ruins) before reaching a junction with signpost for Steenson’s Lough and Bartle’s Lough – turn left here onto a forestry path following the white arrows.
C-D. The loop follows this track for 200m to reach Ardaghy Lough where it turns sharp right and rejoins forestry roadway soon afterwards. The loop now begins a large lefthanded sweep around Ardaghy Woods before turning sharp right at a 3-way junction and reaching Barn Hill Lake. A signpost for a Nature Walk points left here – you proceed straight.
D-E. After 500m the loop passes between the Twin Lakes and climbs gently to reach a T-junction near a metal barrier. Turn sharp left here.
E-F. Follow the sandy roadway to reach a junction with the entrance road where you turn left.
F-A. Enjoy the last 300m back to the trailhead.