Grid Reference: J 088872
Randalstown Forest is a small nature reserve on the north shore of Lough Neagh. The shoreline here is part of a much larger wildfowl refuge that extends from the Sixmilewater 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 with ash, hawthorn and blackthorn but other parts are very wet with alder and willow trees. Rare plants such as large bitter cress, narrow-leaved water plantain and elongated sedge grow where the wood is wettest.
The reserve overlooks the lough shore from a sheltered lagoon. It 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 and in summer, great-crested grebes, mute swans and coot nest in the reedswamp fringe of the lagoon.
Car park at Forest entrance. There is a 1 mile walk from the car park to the nature reserve. Information points.
Sturdy footwear is recommended.
Site manager Tel. 028 3885 3950.