Union Wood

  • Trailhead: Car Park
  • Length: 5.5km
  • Ascent: 100m
  • Time: 1.5 - 2 hours
  • Suggested Gear: Sturdy walking boots, trekking shoes, snacks, fluids and waterproofs
  • Longitude: 54.214530
  • Latitude: -8.470123

The Trail Map:- OSI Map Series 25

Union wood is a large area of mixed forestry located between Coolooney, Ballygawley and Ballisodare and provides a wonderful amenity for Sligo. The wood provides a range of walking opportunities through diverse woodland as well as access to Union Rock and its wonderful panorama of the North West of Ireland. There are two waymarked looped walks within Union wood in addition to the Sligo Way long distance waymarked route.

Union Wood

The Routes
The Oakwood Trail – A gentle looped walk along the edge of the old oak woodland, the Oakwood Trail is looked after by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Walkers will enjoy stunning views of the Ox mountain range, Knocknarea, Ballygawley Lake and the surrounding Sligo and Leitrim countryside on the easy and peaceful route.

Union Rock Trail – A more strenuous looped walk. The start of this trail takes the walker through an area managed for its biodiversity. The trail provides access to Union Rock which necessitates a climb, but the effort will be rewarded with an excellent view of the surrounding countryside.

Did you know?
Formerly part of the Cooper Estate, Union Wood is populated with fallow deer, bluebells and rhododendrons. Its boundaries enclose a section of the Sligo Way which runs through Slish Wood and on to the village of Dromahair. This section of the Sligo Way is 4.5km, with an average walking time of 1.5 hours over a moderate gradient.

*Sections of this route cross Coillte property, for up to date information on diversions/closures due to tree felling, please visit www.coillteoutdoors.ie

Directions - How to get to the Trailhead.

From Sligo Town take the N4 to Carraroe. Take the first exit off the Carraroe roundabout and turn left at the church onto the R287. Take an immediate right onto the R284, signposted Keadue. Union Wood is signposted on the right after approximately 4km.

19 thoughts on “Union Wood

  1. Just like Phil Flood (see their comment below) I also also thought I was on the “main path” of the Oakwood route and ended up at Union Road business park because the route is not properly signed on the west (Collooney/Balisodare side). This was a bit disturbing for me because I had a mild seizure around this time and was also strugging with my vision. Because there is simply no signage on that side of the trail I had to “hit and hope” and luckily found it back to the “main route” shortly after. I walk many multi hour routes around Connaught and have had many seizures on trail but without problems because the trails are clearly marked. This could be fixed in an instant so get on it and make this woods more useable.

    1. Thanks for getting in touch with Sligo Walks. I am sorry to have heard about your experience.

      The walk in question at Union Wood is maintained by Coillte, and Sligo Walks helps in terms of the promotion of all walking trails in Sligo. We have passed on your comments to Coillte, and they have come back to confirm that new signage will be installed in the next month. This should address any confusion regarding the trails.

      I hope this addresses the matter to your satisfaction. If you have any further comments, you can direct these to info@coillte.ie.

  2. The issues with signage remain. At the start there was detailed information on various trails which were colour coded, but then on the actual route, there is no signage at any junction! We ended up lost, having to cross muddy farmland and thick forest to get back to the car. It’s such a quick fix to solve this issue, can’t understand why it hasn’t been done yet.

    1. Well said Jill. I know this woods well enough and walk many other multi hour trails around the west with no issues but I had a minor epileptic seizure on the walk recently (was a little dazed and vision problems) and really struggled with this one because of the lack of signage on the Collooney/Balisodare side. As I said, I’m a regular 15+ mile walker all around Sligo and Connaught and this is the only trail I need to have my wife with me just in case I have a seizure.

  3. New signage has now been installed at Union Wood by Coillte – it will clear up any uncertainty for walkers. We hope that you can get out and enjoy this beautiful walk soon.

    1. Being able to complete the walks would greatly enhance the experience! Arrows please?

      Having previously lost my way on the Union Wood trail, today I tried the Oakwood route. Unfortunately, while both walks are marked with colour coded arrows at the beginning, the arrows are missing from the lovely new signage, so that it’s still difficult to know which way to go at a diverging path. In fact, I stayed on the “main” pathway of the Oakwood route in the hope that the lack of a green arrow must mean go straight ahead, and ended up at Union Road Business Park.
      The addition of the colour coded arrows on the new signage would be very welcome indeed!

  4. If there is an easy walk here, the kind that a person who is no longer very young and fit could safely use, Please Singpost it! If this is not place where a person who is no long very young and fit can safely walk, please don’t advertise it as an easy walk. There are too many places where pathways cross one another, and not a signpost in sight. I got lost on this walk, ended up at the top of the red loop trail which I had not intended to go near. Three hours it took me, and I was in terrible pain by the time I found my way back to the car. At one point I thought I was going have to call out the emergency services.
    Union Woods is Dangerous in its current form.

  5. mauraglynn@gmail.com

    Please put up some markers or give us maps at particular places saying where one is. It’s so easy to get lost for someone who wouldn’t know the trails.

  6. Excellent

    Did this walk today with my children aged 6 an 2 to union Rock on the Red trail. Well worth the walk with the amazing views form top of Union rock

  7. Fab easy walk with great views of Sligo
    Followed the red arrows to Union Rock and did not have any difficulties

  8. Had the pleasure of doing this walk with my daughter, very enjoyable.
    Previous walkers have stated the signage needs to be improved ASAP . Thank god we didn’t get lost , had to ask a few times if we were on the right route to the ROCK.
    The views are amazing & great photographs

  9. Firstly, brilliant work opening up these tracks! Unfortunately I have to agree with a previous review that the lack of signage is a major let down.
    Very little detail on the initial map at the start in the car park, and then no directions at 4 crossing points.
    With a little luck I completed the Red Track – Union Rock. But on Green Track I ended up at a house getting chased by 2 dogs, tried another path, and ended up in a housing estate in Ballasdare, only to retrace my path back to the entrance without completing the loop.
    Please fix up the sign posts. Don’t have junctions with no directional makers. ie which track, direction or distance to help/home/car park.

  10. This is a great facility with lovely walks and views from the Rock are superb. For visitors better signposts trail markers are needed.

  11. Walk it all the time. Love the new trail open between Collooney and Balisodare. Could promote the walk with better signage off the N4 at the Sligo Junction . Absolutely needs better signage in the trails about which loop you are on… an incredible resource for our area.

  12. My experience badly signed parked in main car park and ended up in Collooney. Only a very kind lady Rosaleen rescued us at the Gourmet restaurant in Collooney and returned us to our car we had a long trek back.

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