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Banagher Forest, Londonderry

Badger Rating 2.6/5
An extensive, remote forest containing quite a few miles of forest track and the picturesque Altnaheglish Reservoir.

Getting There

South of the A6 Glenshane Pass, on the B40 between Draperstown and Feeny.  Park at any of the forest entrances on the B40 to the north-west, or at the car park at the bottom of Banagher Glen, signposted from the B74 Dungiven to Feeny road.

Trail Description

Pass through the kissing gate and continue past the old filter house as the road climbs upwards through the ancient woodland of Banagher Glen. Continue to the fork in the road, taking the left fork signed for the dam and continue past an interpretive panel on a bridge. Legend has it that a large snake escaped from St Patrick and hid in the gorge under the bridge where it still remains.

The road climbs on steeply up the glen. Take great care on this section as there is a steep drop to the right hand side. Ignore all other tracks leading off until Altnaheglish Dam and reservoir come into view. Follow the rough gravel lane and turn right towards the entrance of Banagher Forest, cross the stile and follow the path along the edge of the reservoir for approx. 2 km. Take a sharp right turn to cross the Altnaheglish River and then another turn right. The path begins to climb through the trees before turning sharply to the left, right and then left again.

The trail then summits Altnaheglish Hill providing views of Sawel, Dart and Mullaghclogha and to Donegal in the distance on the drop down the other side. Eventually the track comes to a T junction where you have two choices.

Turn right to shorten your route (green route) by taking the higher track that meets the Glenedra Burn further downstream at Ballydoonan Bridge.

The second option of turning left will allow you to take a longer descent through the forest. After fording the Glenedra Water (or Crooked Burn) take the next right and follow the trail for 3.5 kms to reach Ballydoonan Bridge. From here follow the trail downhill for another 1.5 km to return to the car park.

Useful Maps & Links

OSNI 1:50,000 Sheet 7&8 or Sperrins Activity Map 1:25000


trail head marker Trail Head

Movies of Banagher Forest, Londonderry


Reviews for this trail

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0 5
1= Rubbish      5= Badgertastic!
  • All the trees have been cleared from the roads so only required to lift bike over a couple of gates, on the last downhill section after approx 1km there is a road to the right, look left here to take a fun single track route back to car park! not very technical but the long loop is a good workout.
  • Would agree that this trial is not very technical but well worth a visit. The climbs are long and sustained but once you reach the summit of the forest it's mostly downhill. It is a great workout and a very enjoyable cycle. One thing to point out is that you may find yourself walking with and lifting your bike alot as there are trees blocking the road as you follow the reservoir round and on the return journey the last 1.5km DH section is virtually blocked every 10 -15 m with downed trees, very frustrating.
  • This place has an awesome loop to it and should take about two hours.
    Especially if you go up to the mast on the road and then bomb straight down the side of the hill, this is an amazing rush.
  • Beautiful place set in the Sperrins. A great place for a long walk on a frosty morning but less suitable for mountain biking. It's just straight forward forest roads for the most part. On the return journey there is a fast descent and the river crossing is fun!
  • Reluctant to rate this too highly as it is a favourite spot of ours. However as mountain biking goes it is not technical or exhilerating but it is a beautiful spot and gives the whole family a good workout. Plenty of ascent but my other half always says the downhill on this run compensates . Kids love the ford crossing. Can be done as a circular route (approx 12km)with the first 2km being uphill on tarmac road, the remainder is on fireroad or established walking path, but usually not many others about. Also need to lift bikes over two locked gates and the bridge is down at one point so requires riding through the river - quite fun if the flood nots on. Another good place to introduce younger riders to off road riding.

NOTE: The trails on this site have been ridden before, but you should not interpret their inclusion as an indication that mountain-biking is officially sanctioned on them. Seeking permission from landowners is your own responsibility, as is conducting yourself in a manner that is courteous, respectful to the environment, and conscious of the safety of others.