You’ll find the Coolmelagh looped walks between Bunclody in north Wexford and Carnew in south Wicklow. You’ll also find stunning views of the Wicklow hills, which makes these Coillte and Wexford Walking Trail routes so worthwhile.
From various vantage points, you can see the surrounding countryside of Wexford, Carlow, and on up into Wicklow. You also get a great view of Mount Leinster.
There are three loops – Prospect is 5.4km, Gibbet Hill is 10km, and Coolmelagh is longer at 13.3km (see below for map). They’re easy enough to walk, a few moderate hills here and there, though it can be stony underfoot. My favourite is the Prospect Loop, its terrain is easy, and the views are stunning. My advice: start with the top part of the loop, as the incline is easier. And you get the full impact of the views into Co Wicklow on the decline on the far side. That decline is pretty steep if you’re coming at it uphill!
The Gibbet Hill and Coolmelagh looped walks all lead to Gibbet Hill. Seemingly, a gibbet is an old English name for Hanging Hill, so that will give you some hint as to what went on here. As these are Coillte lands, you’re walking through forestry, but you won’t miss out on the views. They can be stony underfoot and have some steep inclines, so be prepared for that.
This is a great spot for watching sunsets to the west. And you should stop awhile, and let your gaze take in the splendour of the hills. From Carlow to the west, the land glides into the blue haze of the Wicklow hills and on eastwards towards the Wexford countryside.
In amongst the forestry, you might spot Sika deer, Irish hare, foxes, badgers, Peregrine falcons and hen harrier ravens. We’ve spotted curious deer on the trails, who have scarpered off after giving us the once-over!
The site is also home to wind turbines, reaching up skyward higher than the trees.
This is one of the hidden gems in the area, so you’ll be able to walk in peace here. For stunning views on a clear day, it really is worth adding to your list.
Good to know
There’s parking at the trail head and an information panel (see below). The Prospect Loop (ascent 140m) has the easiest terrain underfoot. The 13km Coolmelagh loop has the highest ascent (280m), with the 10km Gibbet Hill loop coming in second, at 210m.
Bunclody is 6km away, Carnew 7km, so stop there if you need supplies or snacks.
At the trail head