BALLYVAUGHAN WOOD LOOP
The Burren and its unfolding layers of limestone form terraces on the slopes of the hills and the area has been described as a ‘lunar’landscape.
This loop starts in the village of Ballyvaughan - a walkers welcome town and takes you close to Aillwee Cave - the most famous of the ancient caves beneath the Burren.
Trailhead: Ballyvaughan, County Clare
Services: Ballyvaughan village
Distance/Time: 8km / 1.5hrs – 2 hrs
Terrain: Minor roadways, green lanes, woodland, cross country
To Suit: Average level of fitness
Minimum Gear: Trekking shoes, raingear, fluid and mobile phone
Grid Ref.: OS Sheet 51, M228 080
A-B. Starting from the town of Ballyvaughan follow the R447 (towards Fanore) for 300m past thatched cottages and across a bridge to reach a roadway on the left. Turn left here and follow the purple arrows along a roadway past the Primary School. Veer right here and follow the various arrows across a series of stone stiles and wooded sections to exit into a field which takes you to a surfaced roadway where the Burren Way turns right - but you follow the purple arrows and turn left.
B-C. Follow the surfaced roadway for 300m to reach the main N67 road where you turn left, and almost immediately, turn right again onto a minor road. Follow this road to its conclusion at a metal gate into a field. Cross the stile and follow the purple arrows across the fields, stiles and sandy roadways to exit at the entrance to Aillwee Cave where you turn left.
C-D. Now follow the roadway for 2km to reach a T-junction where you turn left, pass through a gateway and join a ‘green’ laneway. Follow this laneway for 300m to exit at a double gate. Continue straight as the laneway changes to a surfaced roadway and eventually reaches a T-junction where you turn left. D-A. After 400m on this surfaced road you join the N67 Galway road where you turn left for the last 500m back to the trailhead.
Caution: Rocks are slippery when wet.