Castlefreke is a fascinating suite of small woodlands that are linked by a number of trails. Once part of the Freke Estate there are many features to remind you of this fact, including impressive entrances, high cross, estate walls and specimen trees. Rathbarry castle, Rathbarry church and graveyard are nearby. It is ecologically rich with a range of habitats including wet woodlands, coastal marine sites and old woodland. It’s geographic location beside the Long Strand make for some truly spectacular views of the Atlantic and the coastline. Interestingly, it is believed that the Long Strand dune system was formed as a result of a tsunami which occurred in 1743.
This area is well worth a visit.
Things to do
Picnicking: There are picnic tables sited in the main car park and along the
Walk: There are five fabulous walking trails to suit all levels of fitness, each one with its own unique story to tell. Lord Carbery’s Cross Trail (1.3kms, 40mins, moderate) passes Lord Carbery's Cross which was erected at the summit of the hill of Croghna in 1902 by Lady Carbery in memory of the husband the 9th Baron of Carbery. This cross is 30 feet high & is the highest memorial cross in Ireland. The Strand Leg (200m, 5 mins, moderate) is a short trek leading you down to the Long Strand and dune system; Castle Cross Trail (650m, 20 mins, easy) is a gentle walk adjacent to the tarred road on the bounds of the forest, the Lake Walk (1km, 20 mins, easy) leads the visitor down to Kilkeran Lake which is a natural sedimentary lagoon and is an SAC; the River Walk (450m,10mins, easy) is small wet woodland that is a haven for biodiversity and fauna, Castlefreke Warren Walk (1.3km, 30 mins, moderate) tracks behind the Long Strand dunes and offers fantastic ocean and coastline views on a sunny day and finally the Rathbarry Church Walk (300m, 10mins, easy) that leads to the ruins of the Church of Ireland church and graveyard that was built in 1825 by the Freke family.
Fish: Coastal fishing nearby, enquire locally about licenses and permits.
Scenic drive: Part of the Wild Atlantic Way.
Explore nature: A range of habitats, including wet woodland, coastal and old estate, this is a feast for the ecologically astute in a small area.
Surf: There are several beachs close-by that offer top quality surf.
Don’t miss our hidden gem
Castlefreke Wood’s location beside the Atlantic Ocean and it’s historical past as part of the Freke Estate make this an especially interesting wood to visit and to explore. There are wonderful views of Long Strand and the Galley Head Lighthouse on clear days.