Randalstown Forest and Farr’s Bay

Randalstown Forest and Farr’s Bay are two small adjacent Nature Reserves on the north shore of Lough Neagh to the west of Randalstown. The Forest covers 430 acres and contains large broadleaved trees including Oaks as well as conifer plantation. The shoreline here is part of a much larger wildfowl refuge that extends from the Six Mile Water River in the east to Blackrock Bay in the west.

The area is not typical of most of the Lough Neagh shoreline as it is not grazed by cattle and is therefore heavily wooded. Parts of the wood are dry and include mixed ashwood, but other parts are wet woodland with alder and willow trees. Rare plants such as Large Bitter Cress, Lanceolate Water Plantain and elongated sedge grow where the wood is wettest.

A sheltered lagoon is an excellent point from which to see many of the wetland birds typical of Lough Neagh. In winter, look out for Mallard, Teal and Gadwall. In summer, Great Crested Grebes, Mute Swans and Coot nest in the reedbed and fen fringe of the lagoon.

Facilities: Car park at Forest entrance. There is a one mile walk from the car park to the nature reserve.

Managed by Forest Service and the NI Environment Agency (028 9049 1264)