Vale of Clara Forest Walk

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (29 votes, average: 3.52 out of 5)

Duration: 2-3 hours
A hidden gem – a lovely woodland walk which is very peaceful and quiet. The walk is especially good in the autumn when the tree leaves are changing colour. The woodland is a nature reserve and a proposed site of special scientific interest, with one of the largest stands of native hardwoods in the country. The walk is low-level and easy, mostly following grassy paths.


  • The walk starts at the car park of the Vale of Clara nature reserve. This is just beyond the tiny hamlet of Clara, which has a picturesque bridge and church. Clara is reached by a small (quite easy to miss) turning off the main R755 Laragh-Rathdrum road – about 5km beyond Laragh.
  • There are three marked loop walks to choose from – 2, 5.6 and 9.5 km long. The longer route takes 2-3 hours. For each route there are colour coded markers to follow.

25 Responses to “Vale of Clara Forest Walk”

  1. Ciaran Says:

    Wow what a fantastic walk. We did the longer blue trail with thekl 3 kids today. Beautiful gentle trail with lovely scenery. it’s a hidden gem. took us 3 hours. could be done with a buggy with inflated wheels.

  2. Marian Says:

    thanks for good idea :) Going there now!

  3. Jessica Says:

    Did this walk 2/3 weeks ago and it is beautiful, certainly hard to find. The turn of the Laragh-to-Rathdrum road is on the left hand side. Don’t miss it or you will be lost for hours! Worth it, beautiful views, tadpoles, tropical smelling gorse, experience it for your self. Note: Look out for the P for parking arrow in black marker, otherwise you may accidentally do two loops :)

  4. Paul Says:

    Exactly 3.1miles from Laragh, watch out for a left turn, sign will say Clara RC, over the bridge, past the church and up the hill on the right. Great for dogs

  5. Dave Says:

    Did the 9.5km walk over the weekend, took about 1hr 50 mins. Very nice walk through the forest, especially around autumn time with all the leafs falling off the trees and scarthering on the ground. Hilly in parts. Great walk for dogs, well worth the hour drive from dublin.

  6. Maryrose Says:

    This is a great walk – suitable for a buggy. With a 2.5 year old walking with us, it took 3.5 hours today. Lovely. Thanks for the site and for bringing this to my attention.

  7. velogirl Says:

    Shhhhh…………… Don’t tell anyone else

  8. Ken Says:

    Headin down to check this out.. Hope I can find that turn..

  9. wexfordwhite Says:

    Absolutely fabulous, walked it many, many times. Don’t be afraid to experiment – there is a nice walk from the back of the church and another to the left just before the bridge. You can also walk to Rathdrum – just keep following the river downstream.

  10. Catherine Says:

    Lovely walk, did it yesterday, would love to see it in the summer. Really quiet. Did with 3.5 year old, part carrying, part walking. There is a wooden seat on the walk over looking the river which we stopped and had a picnic at early on in the walk.

  11. Eamonn Delaney Says:

    Did this walk on 8th June. The only other car there was parked in front of the sign with the walk distance marked on it. Lovely walk, did the long (blue) route.

    If I was doing it again I would do the upper part of the walk first and return by the flat river section. Didn’t meet a soul in the entire walk. When you pass the church there are 2 entrances to the wood on the right. If you go to the 2nd one you do the hilly bit first. Not a great deal of places to have a picnic other than the bench mentioned but well worth the trip

  12. Fiona Says:

    Not easy to find. Coming from Laragh on R755 it’s after the Clara Lara fun park look out for a local road on the left hand side. It’s narrow road that brings you to the bridge and church pass these and you will see it shortly on the right hand side.
    Lovely walk, just as described it’s a low level easy walk. We did the blue loop (and nearly did it twice.) as other contributors have said look out for the small p in black marker pointing you back to the car park.

  13. Simon Says:

    Did the long version last Sunday – absolutely gorgeous in the autumn leaves.

  14. margaret Says:

    Beautiful walk, did the long one in the rain and it was great, really scenic walk, not hard at all, but ye legs where tired after

  15. Eva Says:

    My 9yr old daughter and I followed the blue trail today(long trail). Absolutely beautiful little piece of heaven. We hike regularly, but hadn’t heard of this little gem. Tons of wild flowers, ferns, butterflies and unfortunately flies. Luckily we had bug spray. Thank goodness for the little tip about post marked for the car park.
    We missed the turn off twice. It’s L6021 signed post R.C St??? The name of the church has slipped my mind. Coming from Laragh it’s the left turn past clara laragh fun park. There isn’t much of a car park. It’s a gate way. There seems to be a little parking at the church but it was full today. The end of the blue trail brings you out onto the Rd for a few minutes we nearly misses the turn back into the wood. A car made us step in off the Rd right onto the path. Lots of summer growth was hiding the sign. We cleared it a teeny bit.
    All in all a magical place. It took us 2hrs 20mins. We stopped for about 15mins to eat and a couple of water breaks. Much thanks for sharing.

    P.s I can only assume that the mess we came across at the crest of the hill is a public toilet used by the loggers. There was so much human waste and toilet paper on the edges of the path. It was absolutely disgusting. I’ve never seen anything like it. Does anyone know who is responsible for this wood? Coillete? I think they need to send some poor unfortunate in to clear it up.

  16. Ferg Says:

    Really nice walk. A group from work did this as a sponsored walk. We followed the blue trail and it took around 2 hours 10/15 mins. Various levels of fitness but everyone managed it quite easily.

    Easy enough to find but very limited parking available, so get there early.

    The bridge over the river, just before the start of the walk is very tight, so be cautious crossing it in a car.

  17. Herbiek Says:

    We walked the blue trail in 2 hours and 30 minutes (anticlockwise) including about 15 minutes of drink and eating break. We parked the car at the church. We started 16:30 with a very clear sky and temperatures around 21 degrees Celsius. Loved the trail, the sun scattering in the river and met only 2 other hikers walking in the opposite direction almost at the start of the trail. About a few hundred meters before the trail left the river we even saw a roe/deer that looked to be surprised by us and stood still for a couple of seconds about 30 meters away before it ran away up the hill. Almost at the end of the trail you have to walk on the asphalt for a few hundred meters .

  18. Mary t. Says:

    Completed the blue walk this pm. Wonderful! Someone lost pair of hilfger specs. They were on the piller at the first entrance to forest this eve. Just hope they can be reunited with their owner.

  19. jim R Says:

    I did the walk with a group of friends , it was a lovely day and very nice nature walk. be careful of the hand written P sign to direct you back to car park, if not you may do 2 loops
    Rathdrum is a nice village for a bit to eat

  20. Marian Says:

    Did the blue walk yesterday. This is a most beautiful walk and very easy. Takes about two hours. A little taste of heaven on my doorstep. There is a shorter walk for anyone who doesn’t fancy doing the 9.5 kilometre.

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  22. Martin Says:

    Great walk. The blue loop is over 9 km but the trail is very easy. One thing to watch is the sign for going back to the car park when you are finished the loop. It’s very easy to start following the blue arrows and and starting over again. I learned this the hard way!

  23. Jim Says:

    Is the path very wet this time of year?

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