Drummin Wood near Pontoon has one of the most scenic forest walking trails in Mayo with lake and mountain views to complement the wonderful woodland scenes.
Drummin Wood is located on the road linking Foxford and Pontoon (R318) and there is a small parking area at the entrance to the forest.
Overlooking Lough Cullin (Loch Cuilinn, holly lake), Drummin Wood is part of the Drummin Wood Forest Recreation Area, which also includes three small lakeside beaches.
The walk along a forest trail is over sloping and sometimes marshy ground – but mainly good underfoot conditions.
Drummin Wood comprises both naturalised broadleaf woods and coniferous plantations mainly pine trees such as Sitka spruce and Lodgepole Pine. There are also Ash, Holly and Hazel and Beech trees.
Memorable views of Nephin and Lough Conn
Thankfully, Coillte has started a biodiversity management programme that will see more deciduous planting in Drummin in the years ahead.
Follow the trail for about 1km until you reach a gateway. Turn left after the gate along a trail leading to a rocky, heather-covered hilltop at Tavnaghmore with magnificent views over Lough Conn and its pretty islands.
This walk is worth it just for the view of Nephin towering over the western shores of Lough Conn (Loch Con, hound’s lake).
Each time you reach this summit, you are always guaranteed a memorable view of Mayo’s great mountain whether snow-capped, some days in winter, or shimmering behind a heat haze on a warm summer’s day.
On a clear day, you can also see Croagh Patrick a little to the south of Nephin and Foxford with its back to the Ox Mountains lies to the south-east.
The silence is perfect and rarely interrupted except for the whistle of the Irish Rail train making its way along the railway line between Ballina and Foxford.
The walk loops through the townland of Tavnaghmore and takes you out onto the busy R310 road at Pontoon between Ballina and Castlebar.
However, I like to avoid busy roads and prefer to retrace my steps back to the car park at the Drummin Wood entrance.
Images of Drummin Wood, Co Mayo
Celebrated in poetry by F.R. Higgins
Drummin Wood is such a lovely place it is not surprising that its enduring appeal was celebrated in verse by Foxford-born, Frederick Robert Higgins (1896-1941), a poet and a managing director of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin.
His poem Drummin Wood, first published in 1925 in his collection, “Island Blood”, captures the quiet beauty of Drummin Wood.
by Frederick Robert Higgins (1896-1941)
As bare as a Salley on the autumn waters
After red moonrise,
And a bright as the eye of a hunting otter
While the salmon lies,
She comes in the quiet of unseen dewfall-
Lightly, quietly avoiding the dewfall,
Into the wood, she flies.
Ah, I fear she will frighten the little red foxes
From their ferny lair,
And the squirrel out on the juicy branches,
Sniffing the wholesome air;
But she lightly treads as if treading on blossoms-
The dead trees are bursting again in blossoms,
As she is stepping there.
O, I would we could wander while the blue stars glimmer
Through the salmon’s abode;
O, to quietly wander where the fruitful hazels
Bear each unripe load
Above the rocks by the blue lake waters-
Lovers wandering down by the waters
On a shining sandy road