Gosford Forest Park
Gosford Forest Park
Gosford Forest Park is a beautiful forest park a few miles east of Armagh in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. It offers serene walking trails through woodland, the opportunity to see plenty of wildlife, training in outdoor activities like horse riding, well manicured gardens, good parking, and a teahouse for refreshments and light food, and a gift shop. There are also camping and caravanning facilities and this certainly has to be one of the more picturesque of camping sites UK.
Gosford Park used to be a Demesne, home to the Acheson family who were Earls of Gosford for several centuries. The park boasts an impressive castle, called Gosford Castle. It is a relatively recent construction completed before 1860. It is a fairly unique construction in the Normal revival style, i.e. built to look like a more elegant version of the stout medieval Norman castles. It is privately owned and in the process of being turned into a series of elegant private residences.
Gosford has several circular walking trails which start at the car park and end there too. The longest is the Boundary Trail at nearly 4 miles long. It will take you past the small Drumlack river, the Rare Animals breed and Deer Park, and also the Arboretum. The trail is pleasant and the terrain fairly flat so it will not strain you too much. The shortest are the Castle Trail and the Deer Park Trail, both at just over one mile. The first will take you past the arboretum with its variety of pine and other trees and past Gosford Castle, and Dean Jonathan Swift’s Chair. Jonathan Swift, best known for his novel Gulliver’s Travels, was a good friend of the Acheson family and visited on occasions spending many months here. It is believed that he composed some of his work while seating on that chair. The Deer Park Trail will take through the Deer Park offering opportunities to see the rich wildlife.
Somewhat longer is the Beechwood Trail at around 1.5 miles and will take you to the Swift Well and Chair as well as the Walled Garden. apart from these marked trails there are other paths that you can follow and enjoy a pleasant walk.
Gosford Forest Park is well worth a visit. It is rarely crowded and offers a very peaceful and serene environment to enjoy nature and a day out with friends and family. The castle and the other reminders that it was once a demesne add a sense of history and mystique to this beautiful forest park.
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