The Rivers Glenariff and Inver have cut right through this spectacular steep-sided gorge – the Queen of the Glens.
These rivers can be lively and dramatic as they tumble over boulders and a series of three impressive waterfalls. But then they become suddenly calm and tranquil, flowing lazily through oak and beech woodland, sunlight streaming through the fresh new leaves.
In autumn and winter the rivers swell, accentuating their beauty ©Getty
This humid and moist microclimate is home to rare ferns, mosses and liverworts, as well as spruce, fir, pine and larch.
Marking the way
Three waterfalls provide a spectacular focus for this woodland walk in one of Northern Ireland’s most panoramic landscapes. The walk is waymarked throughout and easy to follow from the car park. Descend steeply to the bottom of the gorge and the first of the waterfalls.
Boardwalks lead through the reserve from one waterfall to the next ©Getty Getty
The first fall
After one mile you will reach a waterfall. Glenariff is home to rare ferns, mosses and liverworts and the woodland will be alive with birdsong. Turn left. Special walkways cut into the sides of the gorge provide a spectacular route allowing close inspection of the plantlife that abounds in this National Nature Reserve.
Waterfall in Glenariff Forest Park. Taken with a Circular Polariser and a Neutral Density Filter to show the motion of the water ©Getty
A boardwalk continues along the valley bottom by Glenariff River to Rainbow Bridge. From here it’s a steep climb back to the starting point.
Find out more about walks in Glenariff Nature Reserve: walkni.com/glenariff-nature-reserve
Main image ©Getty