Situated close to the geographical centre of Ireland, the Slieve Bloom region links the counties of Laois and Offaly and is made up of forests, blanket bog of a type which is unique to Ireland, and hidden valleys which will be of interest to lovers of archaeology and nature. In 2007, a series of looped walks were developed at various trailheads in the region following a mix of forest tracks, riverbanks, old roadways, and grassy trails. There are a few rough and rugged sections - but they rarely rise to high altitude and do not demand great stamina. This loop is one of three which start and finish at the Kinnitty Forest trailhead - key features include the grounds of Kinnitty Castle (now a hotel) and spectacular broadleaf woodlands.
A-B. Start from the trailhead at the forestry entrance. After 30m keep left at the Y-junction of forestry roads following the green arrow. You are also following the blue arrows of the Glinsk Castle loop, and the yellow arrows for the long-disatnce Slieve Bloom Way. After a little more than 1km you reach a 3-way junction with a wooden gate on your left. [Going through the wooden gate will take you into the grounds of Kinnitty Castle – well worth a visit.]
B-C. Your loop turns right (uphill) here, and continues to ascend along a forest track for almost 1km before rounding a right bend and reaching a Y-junction. Veer to the right here – still following the Slieve Bloom Way and the red and green loops.
C-D. After 500m the blue loop and Slieve Bloom Way turn left onto an uphill woodland trail – but you continue straight on here.
D-E. Continue to follow the forest track downhill to reach a 3-way junction - veer right here.
E-A. It is only 300m back to the trailhead.
This loop is 4km and is one of the easier walks, it's also wheelchair friendly.