Cullaloe Forest and Cullaloe Reservoir

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Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright July 2022, Bill Kasman; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
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Cullaloe Forest and Cullaloe Reservoir may share the same name but they are not co-located nor are they connected directly to one another nor are they even close to one another although, in bygone days, they both were part of the Cullaloe Estate. It is not difficult to walk from one to the other but it involves leaving one path, following field margins through farmland to join another path and crossing a busy road. This would be a linear walk of several kilometres with no easy way to return to your starting point. In this article I have chosen to treat them as separate but related entities which, with your own transport, could both be visited in one trip.

The Forest

This short walk is a pleasant way to pass a couple of hours

There is a video of this location available on YouTube LinkExternal link

Managed by the Forestry Commission Cullaloe Forest is best accessed from the A909 road (locally known as the 'Bernard Smithy' road) near the petrochemical plant of Mossmorran Link A rough track, guarded by a locked gate, leads into the forest and there is unofficial parking for 3-4 cars off road at the start of the track. If you choose to park here please ensure that the gate to the track is accessible to farm and Forestry Commission vehicles. Cullaloe Forest is visited by walkers, dog walkers and families (and geograph-ers!) looking for a fairly flat, not too strenuous couple of hours exercise. There are two tracks through the forest. The main (lower) track is wide and meant for four-wheel-drive vehicles. Following this track will take you to a rather unexpected structure adjacent to the track in the middle of the forest - a folly known as the 'Garden Temple', built in the 19th century by the landowner. The main track ends here but a rough trail continues and, after a hundred metres or so, splits into two - right loops through the forest back to the folly whilst left is the trail which could be used to reach the reservoir. The trail back to the folly overlooks, at one point, the nearby Goathill Quarry - a necessary industrial blot on the landscape.

From the main track there are several rough paths leading off to the right. They aren't all obvious and they all head up a fairly steep, heavily-wooded, hillside to reach a higher path where you will find another folly known as the 'Cullaloe Tower' - a quite impressive tower on the edge of a precipice, again built by the landowner in the 19th century. If you choose to climb one of the paths to the tower then following the path from the folly (in a south-westerly direction) will eventually bring you back to the main track. Once on this higher path there are, again, several rough paths heading further up the hill to various points which overlook Goathill Quarry. One of these paths will lead you to the highest point of the Cullaloe Hills (219m)

Probably the best way to explore Cullaloe Forest is to follow the main track to the Garden Temple, backtrack a couple of hundred metres until you reach the point where the higher path meets the main track Link and then break left to follow the higher path to the Cullaloe Tower. Close to the tower is a rough path heading downhill to join the main track back to the locked gate. This route avoids any steep climbs. The Garden Temple marks the limit of easy walking and reaching it (and the Cullaloe Tower) doesn't require any extensive preparation but there are rough paths both beyond the temple and uphill from the tower - if you feel like exploring these further then be aware that this is a heavily-forested area - make sure you are properly equipped!

NT1889 : Entrance to Cullaloe Forest by Bill Kasman
This locked gate guards the track into Cullaloe Forest. The road is the A909 known locally as the 'Bernard Smithy' road. If you choose to park here please make sure the gate is accessible to farm and forestry vehicles at all times.
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by Bill Kasman


NT1889 : Forestry sign by Bill Kasman
This sign is adjacent to the locked gate leading to the track through Cullaloe Forest.
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by Bill Kasman


NT1889 : Forest track by Bill Kasman
Looking towards the A909 and the locked gate guarding the track through Cullaloe Forest.
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by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : Forest path by Bill Kasman
This is the main (lower) track through Cullaloe Forest. There is another track higher up the hill (right in this image).
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by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : Vehicle on forest track by Bill Kasman
This Forestry Commission vehicle was on the main track through Cullaloe Forest.
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by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : What is this? by Bill Kasman
Adjacent to the main track through Cullaloe Forest is this object. Water can be heard gurgling within it and there is a pipe which leads a short way downhill to another 'gurgling thing!' There are no markings of any kind on it but it's made of plastic so it's a fairly recent construction and, since there isn't a river, burn or other water source nearby, it may be a natural spring which has been capped by the local farmer as a water source.
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by Bill Kasman


NT1788 : The 'Garden Temple' by Bill Kasman
This folly, sited in Cullaloe Forest, was built in the 19th century by the owner of Cullaloe Estate. It is one of two follies in Cullaloe Forest.
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by Bill Kasman


NT1788 : The 'Garden Temple' by Bill Kasman
This folly, sited in Cullaloe Forest, was built in the 19th century by the owner of Cullaloe Estate. It is one of two follies in Cullaloe Forest.
See main article Link
by Bill Kasman


NT1788 : The 'Garden Temple' by Bill Kasman
This folly, sited in Cullaloe Forest, was built in the 19th century by the owner of Cullaloe Estate. It is one of two follies in Cullaloe Forest.
See main article Link
by Bill Kasman


NT1788 : Goathill quarry by Bill Kasman
This quarry is the only one left of several quarries which have been in operation in this area over the years.
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by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : View from Cullaloe Hills by Bill Kasman
From the main track through Cullaloe Forest. The two hills in the distance are Montquey (164m) on the left and Torry Hill (175m).
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by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : Cattle in field by Bill Kasman
Views from the main track through Cullaloe Forest to nearby farmland.
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by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : The track divides by Bill Kasman
This is the point where the main (lower) track through Cullaloe Forest and the higher path meet. The Garden Temple is behind the camera. Straight ahead is the obvious main track which leads to the A909 whilst the higher (and fainter) path leading to the Cullaloe Tower branches off to the left.
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by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : Path through forest by Bill Kasman
This is one of several paths leaving the main vehicle track through Cullaloe Forest. Some of these paths are more obvious than others but all of them lead uphill to a higher path which passes Cullaloe Tower.
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by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : Path in Cullaloe Forest by Bill Kasman
This is the higher path through the forest. The Cullaloe Tower is just behind the camera and the path ahead joins the main vehicle track a few hundred metres on NT1888 : The track divides There are some signs that this path was once much wider.
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by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : Path to Cullaloe Tower by Bill Kasman
Built in the 19th century by the landowner the folly of Cullaloe Tower is one of two in Cullaloe Forest.
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by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : Cullaloe Tower by Bill Kasman
Built in the 19th century by the landowner this folly is one of two in Cullaloe Forest.
See main article Link
by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : Cullaloe Tower by Bill Kasman
Built in the 19th century by the landowner this folly is one of two in Cullaloe Forest.
See main article Link
by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : Cullaloe Tower by Bill Kasman
Built in the 19th century by the landowner this folly is one of two in Cullaloe Forest.
See main article Link
by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : Site of LOS link radio station by Bill Kasman
Various maps insist that a line-of-sight radio relay station exists at this location. Photographic evidence says otherwise! I have no idea when it was removed but there is still faint evidence of foundations and other indications of its existence NT1888 : High-tension electricity cable The location can be found adjacent to the higher path which leads to Cullaloe Tower in Cullaloe Forest.
See main article Link
by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : Site of LOS link radio station by Bill Kasman
Various maps insist that a line-of-sight radio relay station exists at this location. Photographic evidence says otherwise! I have no idea when it was removed but there is still faint evidence of foundations. The location can be found adjacent to the higher path which leads to Cullaloe Tower in Cullaloe Forest.
See main article Link
by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : Site of LOS link radio station by Bill Kasman
Various maps insist that a line-of-sight radio relay station exists at this location. Photographic evidence says otherwise! I have no idea when it was removed but there is still faint evidence of foundations. The location can be found adjacent to the higher path which leads to Cullaloe Tower in Cullaloe Forest.
See main article Link
by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : What is this? by Bill Kasman
Adjacent to the main track through Cullaloe Forest is this object. Water can be heard gurgling within it and there is a pipe which leads a short way downhill to another 'gurgling thing!' There are no markings of any kind on it but it's made of plastic so it's a fairly recent construction and, since there isn't a river, burn or other water source nearby, it may be a natural spring which has been capped by the local farmer as a water source.
See main article Link
by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : What is this? by Bill Kasman
Adjacent to the main track through Cullaloe Forest there is an object which appears to be a plastic water tank (top of image). Water can be heard gurgling within it and there is a pipe which leads a short way downhill to another 'gurgling thing!' (centre of image). There are no markings of any kind on either and, since there isn't a river, burn or other water source nearby, it may be a natural spring which has been capped by the local farmer as a water source.
See main article Link
by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : Old water valve? by Bill Kasman
Close to the structure in the centre of this image NT1888 : What is this? I found this object which I believe to be an old and rusty water valve.
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by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : Goathill Quarry by Bill Kasman
Seen from the Cullaloe Hills this quarry is owned and operated by Collier Quarrying and Recycling Ltd. Amongst other things it produces a superior quality blue pebble clay!
See main article Link
by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : Goathill Quarry by Bill Kasman
Seen from the Cullaloe Hills this quarry is owned and operated by Collier Quarrying and Recycling Ltd. Amongst other things it produces a superior quality blue pebble clay!
See main article Link
by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : Goathill Quarry by Bill Kasman
Seen from the Cullaloe Hills this quarry is owned and operated by Collier Quarrying and Recycling Ltd. Amongst other things it produces a superior quality blue pebble clay!
Note: The wind turbine closest to the camera belongs to the quarry which receives all its electricity from this 2mw turbine. Goathill Quarry was the first in the UK to be powered by an on-site wind turbine.
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by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : High-tension electricity cable by Bill Kasman
Sticking out of the ground at the junction of the main track and the higher path in Cullaloe Forest is what appears to be a high-tension electricity cable. It may have had something to do with the former radio relay station which was sited nearby NT1888 : Site of LOS link radio station
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by Bill Kasman


NT1888 : Slippery when wet! by Bill Kasman
These tree roots are on the higher path through Cullaloe Forest. They can be surprisingly slippery when it's been raining.
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by Bill Kasman


KML

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