Walk 1: Glenarm Forest, Red Squirrel Trail
This is the most popular walk in Glenarm, a tranquil picnic spot and a firm favourite with families, couples, and nature & wildlife lovers. Set off from Glenarm Forest Car Park, just through the turnstile take the path/track on your right down past the picnic benches to the river. You can enjoy magnificent views of the front of Glenarm Castle across the Glenarm River which is noted for Salmon and trout. A rich variety of plants and animals: Mallard, Heron, Dipper, Kingfishers and if you’re really lucky you will spot an Otter family as you walk along the path at the river edge. Turn left and spot a squirrel feeder on a tree as you go up the steps.
Grab your camera, your Glenarm woodland adventure awaits with a tumbling waterfall, the scent of wild garlic. Take a left turn along the gravel path and you will spot two more feeding boxes as you return.
The chance to catch a glimpse of the native Red squirrel has increased greatly in recent years thanks to voluntary efforts by local enthusiasts in supplying food- a mix of peanuts and sunflower seeds- and maintaining the feeders. Glenarm Forest is one of the best sites along the Causeway Coastal Route & the Glens of Antrim to spot the native Red Squirrel. Originally introduced to Glenarm forest in the 1970’s by Ulster Wildlife and with the ongoing voluntary effort of Glenarm Wildlife Group & the Glens Red Squirrel Group, it really is a delight to see evidence of a flourishing colony.
Whatever the season or weather Glenarm Forest is sure to have you returning again and again.
Parking in Glenarm Forest or Glenarm Visitor Centre Distance 2Km Time 1½ hour Terrain Looped Walk on tracks with a sloped descent and a stepped ascent.
TOP TIP – see if you can spot the oldest tree in Glenarm Forest. Hint – It’s a Scots Pine – Look up….way up…..
Thanks to Linda at LMET Nature Photography for the Video
Walk 2: Bachelor's Walk & Straidkilly Nature Reserve
A restful place suitable for anyone who wants an easy walk, fresh air and time to reflect. The Bachelor’s Walk is a real gem along the Causeway Coastal Route and a local favourite with an interesting history – stretching back to when there was a Bachelor’s Club in Glenarm formed in 1928 to ‘carry out improvements to beautify the town’ This tradition survived until recently as 3 local men voluntarily maintained Bachelors Walk and provided seating for walkers to enjoy the magnificent views of the coast out to Scotland, the Mull of Kintyre and the Salmon pens where Glenarm Organic Salmon are farmed.
TOP TIP – As you sit can you spot the tall brick chimney and guess its former use?
Explore under the canopy and extend your walk to the Straidkilly Nature reserve. This is a small peaceful way marked trail about 1k circuit. Perched above the village on a limestone escarpment and best known for its colourful flora and Red Squirrel Colony. The sheltered grassy picnic area has views of the Antrim Coast & the Carnlough Hills. A particularly beautiful spot in the Spring when the woodland floor is covered in Bluebells, Primroses and Violets.
While picnicking here you might hear a song thrush or see Red squirrels, Rabbits, Wood Mice, Shrews and Stoats. Look out for Northern Ireland Priority Species; Wood White Butterfly or the less spotted Silver-Washed Fritillary Butterfly—orange in colour.
Access Bachelor’s Walk by an unmarked grassy path leading upwards and away from the Coast Road at the northern end of Glenarm Village – there is no footpath at this point so care must be taken when crossing the road.
Parking; Sea Front Car Park Glenarm; Distance 3km Time 1½hrs Terrain Gently climbing and winding grassy tracks leading to small woodland.
Walk 3: Coastal Path & Shoreline
On the Larne side of Glenarm there is a wide Coastal Path from the Village stretching 1Km to a little picnic park. You can then walk in safety, the wide limestone path which allows access to the shore line. If you like listening to waves, you really are in for a treat – the rumblings of the black and white pebble stones as they roll with the waves is sure to make you forget all of your worries you might even find early flints. As you walk to the next picnic park keep your eyes peeled on the sheer cliffs to your right to spot sea birds- Fulmar Cormorant, Shag, Black-headed gull, Common gull and Gannet.
It is always a delight to see inquisitive seals popping their heads up along this stretch of Coast, hoping to snatch a stray salmon around the salmon pens. During this walk depending on the time of year you may be treated to the spectacular show put on by the pod of Dolphins which visit every year. This causes much excitement for locals and passing motorists who simply have to pull in and stop to enjoy the spectacle.
Further along sits a huge rock with a window-like opening at the top. This should be viewed from the road due to erosion of the coast. The story goes that a beautiful young woman drowned whilst swimming in Glenarm Bay and her sweetheart was so distraught that he lost his sanity and each day for the rest of his life would gaze through the gap in the rock awaiting her return (hence the name Madman’s Window or Spy Window). Parking; Glenarm Village or Coastal picnic parks, Distance 1½Km Time 1hr Terrain This is an easy linear walk on pavement and track suitable for prams and wheelchairs.
TOP TIP – watch out for Peregrines
Walk 4: The Layde Walk
This Glenarm Village beauty spot is not to be missed and well worth the steep climb of The Vennel, the quaintest and most picturesque streetscapes in the village.
Now re generated as the Layde Walk this was a former 19th Century water way, quite a feat of engineering as it diverted water 3 miles up the Glen from Linford and Glenarm Rivers to power a water wheel at the Limestone crushing mill.
Park at Glenarm Visitor Information Centre or Glenarm Harbour carpark and walk to the heart of the village along Toberwine Street taking a left turn uphill on the winding side street. This steep slope of the oldest street in the North of Ireland with the houses climbing up it’ has the unique name The Vennel – meaning a tunnel like or narrow passageway. Catch your breath as you admire the decorative pavement, Albert Square lantern, old water pump and high basalt free standing wall.
Continue a further short climb up Springhill to find “Artie’s Way” on your left. This stony path is the highest point in the village offering fantastic views of Glenarm village, Glenarm Castle and Bay.
Fondly known as Artie’s way, in a tribute to Glenarm man Arther O’Hara who took it upon himself to create a pathway using stones from Glenarm beach. Artie could be seen every day pushing his wheel barrow from the beach to the Layde. When you walk this steep slope yourself you will appreciate this was no easy task. Arties gift to Glenarm provides a beauty spot offering stunning views of the village and coast. In true Glenarm spirit the residents have continued Arties generosity with colourful planting and seating to make this such a welcoming place for visitors. Whether you are bird watching, viewing the sunset or just need time to reflect the Layde Walk or Arties Way is sure to make you appreciate all of Glenarm’s natural beauty.
TOP TIP – before making the steep walk up the Vennel veer to the right and walk down Castle Street down to the impressive Barbican Gate built in 1825. Complete with portcullis, gothic windows and a stone turret staircase. The perfect photo opportunity in front of a miniature castle.
Historic Glenarm Harbour Walk
This walk is almost entirely within the confines of the Harbour because there are such rich resources in the immediate area; the beautifully restored Limestone Harbour with its added Marina; the well preserved octagonal chimney a landmark building on the Coast Road; the Tunnel, now a lovely floral feature and the large Limestone Courtyard along the river which retains characteristics of earlier industry. You can have a detailed talk and examine further old photographs or explore alone the remaining relics.
Wellness Walk along Glenarm Waterfront & Beach
Wellness Walk along Glenarm Waterfront & Beach. Indulge yourself some dwell time as the river flows to become the tide. If you wish you can equip yourself with small binoculars, an Eye Spy card of our Coastal Birds and Sea Shells (all available from Visitor Centre) to better appreciate the sights and sounds our Shoreline has to offer.
Walk on The Wild Side at Glenarm
Being Climate Aware in Glenarm we invite you to Walk on the Wild Side and experience an inner balance at this more relaxed and natural space.
Going away from the Visitor Centre in the Larne direction you will enjoy a beautiful coastal walk, entirely on level wide footpaths with spectacular cliffs on your right which are alive with birds. The cliffs provide nesting places for Fulmars and a few Raptors, a tumbling waterfall and tucked in below a Rewilding Area where wildflowers and butterflies abound in their season.
Rewilding aims to restore animals and plants to places where they thrived before human disturbance. It rebuilds ecosystems, fosters biodiversity and helps to reduce the effects of climate change by boosting carbon removal from the atmosphere and nurturing and regenerating the soil.
Rewilding makes our shared outdoor spaces livelier, healthier – and more beautiful. So linger a while, identify flora and fauna from your card and listen for the bees and the birds. Perhaps as you go away you will consider rewilding a little patch of your own – just ‘allow nature take its course’ – longer grasses will increase humidity as climate warms – this in turn will encourage bees and other pollinators so essential for our food production.
Return with a greater sense of connection and calm and an appreciation and gratitude for our natural environment.