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For those wanting to explore on foot, the Isle of Man has a range of good walking from long distance footpaths like Raad ny Foillan (the coastal footpath or Road of the Gull), Millennium Way, Bayr Ny Skeddan (the Herring Route), and the Heritage Trail along the now long closed Douglas to Peel Railway.

A google search of “Walks Isle of Man” produces lots of websites with different ideas for walks of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty. Two good sites are
https://walksisleofman.com/walks
and
https://www.islandescapes.im/blog/holiday-makers/5-of-the-best-isle-of-man-short-walks

The different glens around the island are freely accessible and provide a wide range of good short walks.

Many of the forestry plantations across the island have short self guided walks known as ‘warden’s walks’.

The OS Landranger Map number 95 at a scale of 1:50,000 (2cm to 1km) marks many footpaths and bridleways that make good walking. It is much better and easier to use than the Isle of Man Survey Outdoor Leisure Map at a scale of 1:25,000 (4cm to 1km).


The following are some of the walks I have enjoyed on the Isle of Man.

• St Michael’s Isle #2
• Scarlet Point to Chapel Hill #3
• Port Erin to Bradda Head #4
• Creagneash to Port St Mary visa the Chasms #5

Glen walks include:
• Ballagalass Glen Walk #6
• Dhoon Glen Walk #7
• Groudle Glen Walk #8
• Laxey Glen Gardens #9
• Silverdale Glen walk #10
• Summerhill Glen Walk #11


The Laxey Mines Trail #4 is described in detail here.

There are others we walked before we had a digital camera. (Pictures scanned from old slides may not be very good quality.)

North Barrule, which can be approached from the A18 Mountain road from The Bungalow to Ramsey. This is a superb high level out and back walk along the ridge to the summit.

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South Barrule is a very easy walk from Round Table at the cross roads of A36 and A27. It is a good view point and also has a Celtic hill fort complete with ramparts and gateways.

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Cronk ny Arrey Laa is a steep climb from the A 36 and is a good viewpoint. From there, there is a lovely walk along the ridge following Raad ny Foillan ( the coastal footpath) before dropping down to Fleshwick Bay, B47 to Ballafesson and back along the Bridle path

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From Glen Maye, there is good walking up Glen Mooar along Bay ny Skeddan to the old Foxdale mine ruins at Cross Vein and Beckwith . This can be continued along Glen Rushen.

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The walk along the coast from Glen Maye to Peel drops down the lovely Glen Maye, past a waterfall to pick up the coast following the Bayr ny Skeddan and Raad ny Follan. The trig point on Corrins Hill is a good view point. The adjacent Corrin’s Tower was built in 1806 by Thomas Corrin who owned much of the land round here. He is buried in the small walled graveyard along with his wife and two children.Windows on the eastern side were blocked up following complaints ships were mistaking the tower for Peel breakwater lights.

Port Soderick to Douglas Head is one of the Railway ramble walks. Beginning at Port Soderick station the walk drops down through Port Soderick Glen to the beach.

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This was popular in the late C19th and early C20th centuries and there was once a hotel, a walkway across the rocks, amusement arcade and a funicular taking day trippers up the cliffs. The remains of the walkway can still be seen. The path back to Douglas follows the line of the old Marine Tramway. This was a dramatic route cut out along the cliffside with with girder bridges across gullies.

Two other popular railway rambles are the walk from Santon Station along the cliffs to Santon Head and the walk from Glen Mona past Cashtal yn Ard and the Quaker Burial Ground to Maughold Head and Ramsey

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cont...
 
Last edited:

Eleanor

1000+ Posts
The walk from Castletown to St Michael’s Isle

On a fine sunny day this is a lovely walk from Castletown to the tiny island off the northern tip of the Langness Peninsula. Also known as Fort Island, this is now connected by a causeway and is a popular spot for dog walkers.

The walk begins along the A12 from Castletown to Derbyhaven along the shore of Castletown Bay and past King William’s College. There are views back to Castletown and the lime kilns at Scarlet Point.

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Above the shore is Hango Hill, which derived from the Norse for ‘Hanging Hill’ and may have been a prehistoric burial site. The site has been used for executions since Medieval times but is best remembered as the place William Christian, (Illiam Dhone) was executed in 1663 for his part in surrendering the Royalist-held Island to Parliamentary forces in 1651. Willaim Christian is still a controversial figure in Manx history. Some view him as a patriotic martyr who stood up for rights of the Manx people, others as a traitor.

During the English Civil War, the Isle of Man was staunchly Royalist. The 7th Earl of Stanley left the Island to fight for Charles II following the execution of Charles I. Christian was appointed as Receiver General. The Earl was taken prisoner in 1651 and executed. Cromwell sent an army to invade the Island led by Colonel Robert Duckenfield. Christian supported the rebel Manx cause and was involved in negotiations with the Parliamentarians which resulted in the Countess being compelled to surrender Castle Rushen and Peel Castle. Christian was appointed Governor in 1656.

Two years later, however, Christian was accused of misappropriating money, although these charges were never substantiated. He fled to England and was arrested in London in 1660. He served a year in prison before returning to the Island. Charles Stanley, the new Earl, was determined to punish Christian and ordered his seizure. Christian refused to plead at his trial and a packed House of Keys declared that his life and property were at the mercy of the Lord of Mann. The Deemsters passed sentence, and Christian was executed by shooting on 2 January 1663. The excecution was botched and he later died from his injuries. He was buried in Malew church.

The building remains on top of Hango Hill are nothing to do with the site of execution, and are the remains of a late C17th summerhouse built by the Earls of Derby after the execution of William Christian. It seems to have been linked to horse races organised by the Earl along the dunes on he east side of the Langness Peninsula. Much of the building has been eroded by the sea.

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Derbyhaven is a small settlement clustered round the safe anchorage of Derby Haven.

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In the C17th this was a significant port, providing a better haven than Castletown. Now it is used by small pleasure boats and is overlooked by Ronaldsway Airport. This is a good place for plane spotting.

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A rough track follows the shore past the golf course and club house and a long disused hotel to St Michael’s Island. This was linked by a stone causeway built in the late C19th.

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The island is a low lying windswept area, which needs to be visited on a dry day as there is no shelter. It is popular with dog walkers with mown grass paths through the rough vegetation. It has a very sharp jagged coastline although there is one small harbour area twhere boats could have been pulled ashore.

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There are the ruins of a Norse-Celtic chapel on the south of the island. This dates from the C12th, but may have been built on the site of an earlier keeil. It was and dedicated to St Michael. It is a small rectangular building built of local stone (limestones, volcanic conglomerate and shore boulders set in mortar) with a small bell cote. The door is now barred by a metal grille. The holes by the door suggest that it could have been secured from the inside in times of danger. There are no records of when this stopped being used.

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It would have been surrounded by a burial ground enclosed by an earth bank and stone walls, although no sign of this is left. It was in use until the 1870s, mainly for shipwreck victims and the small Roman Catholic community at the south of the island.

The large stone circular structure at the tip of the island is Derby Fort.

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There was a fort built here in 1540 by the 3rd Earl of Derby as part of Henry VIII’s system of coastal defences against invasion by the Scots or French. It provided a secure base for a garrison of six. It had thick walls with a rampart walk, a single entrance and 8 gun points.

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The fort was refurbished by James, 7th Duke of Derby during English Civil War as part of his upgrading of the island defences by increasing the defences on the west and north to protect Castle Rushen and the safe anchorage of Derby Haven from Parliamentary troops.

By the C18th, the fort was no longer needed and became a lighthouse and was used by the herring fleet.

For those feeling energetic, it is possible to extend the walk round the rest of the Langness Peninsula.

cont...
 

Eleanor

1000+ Posts
Scarlet Point and Chapel Hill from Castletown

This is a popular walk and features as one of the Isle of Man Railway Walks.

Scarlet Point is signposted from the centre of Castletown, along Queen Street before picking up Raad ny Foillan, the coastal footpath.

The rocks around Castletown are carboniferous limestone and their flat strata can be seen really well along the beach.

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Limestone was quarried here until the C19th, providing building stone for Castle Rushen and most of Castletown. The flooded disused quarry can be seen from the path.

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Limestone also fed the bank of three limekilns above the shore which produced lime for agricultural use. The small isolated building nearby was the gunpowder store.

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The kilns can best be seen from Derbyhaven, across the bay. The bright orange red tower was radar station during World War Two and the remains of the barracks are nearby. It became a coastguard lookout tower until the 1970s. It is now used by radio hams.

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The small mining office at Scarlett Point is now the Manx Wildlife Visitor Centre.

Beyond Scarlett point, the coast line becomes a lot more rugged with basalt intrusions including one called The Stack, which is a popular perching point for Cormorants, shags, auks and gulls.

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The volcanic activity which caused the volcanic intrusions also metamorphosed the limestone, forming the black Pooil Vaaish marbles which have been quarried since the C18th. The stone polishes to a hard black surface which is popular for cladding, steps (St Paul’s Cathedral) and monumental structures.

The track follows the coast with views across the Bay ny Carrickey to Port St Mary.

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Poyllvaaish Farm is still a working farm and the original farmhouse with accommodation for animals is still used as a barn and storage.

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Beyond, the footpath picks up a road past the lovely early C17th Balladoole House which was built by John Stevenson, the first recorded speaker of the House of Keys. The road rejoins the A5 by Balladoole farm.

Chapel Hill is signed off this road. (Look for the sign by a bright red dog bin next to a gate with a parking layby). The track leads up through shrubby woodland to the top of the hill.

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This is a small hill overlooking Bay ny Carrickey and is possibly the most important archaeological site on the island, with the remains of a Bronze Age grave, early Celtic fort, Viking ship burial and a keeil. It would have been visible from the sea and also surrounding countryside. Mown grass paths now lead round the site but much of it is hidden by long grass.

All that can be seen of the Bronze Age Cist are a few stones in the ground, which would have lined the cist. It would be easily missed but for the sign. It would have been covered by a stone slab and may have contained a urn containing cremated remains and a small vessel of food.

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In the first few centuries AD, the site was a Celtic hill fort surrounded by ramparts, which are best seen on the Castletown side but almost impossible to photograph.

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The Viking boat burial dates from between 850AD and 950AD was discovered in 1945 by a German refugee from the internment camp based on the Island. All that is left are boat shaped stones in the grass.

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There is a model in the Manx Museum in Douglas showing what the burial would originally have looked like.

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This was the burial site of a high ranking Viking who was buried in an oak ship about 35’ long, which would have been a trading vessel. Boulders were placed around the hull to hold it in position. His body was placed in this along with his belongings including riding equipment and shield. These are now in the Manx Museum.

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A low mound of earth and boulders was placed on top of the boat along with the cremated remains of a horse, dog, pig, sheep or goat. The wood has rotted just leaving the nails used to hold the timbers which are displayed in the Manx Museum.

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The remains of a woman were also found but she was without any grave goods. She might have been a sacrificial victim or it is possible she was part of an earlier burial as the Viking ship burial cut through earlier graves on the site.

Also on the site is a small keeil dating from the C10th or C11th, which may have been on the site of an even older building.

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This makes a very good and easy walk, but do choose a dry day as there is no shelter. From Chapel Hill continue along the track to the A5 and catch a bus back to Castletown, retrace your steps, or follow the instructions in the Railway Ramble along field paths back to Castletown.

cont...
 

Eleanor

1000+ Posts
Port Erin to Bradda Head

This is a popular walk that can be extended to Fleshwick Bay.

The bulk of Bradda Head rising 382’ above sea level dominates the view from Port Erin and shelters the bay from northerly winds.

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At the top is Milner’s Tower which was erected in 1871 in the memory of local philanthropist William Milner. a wealthy Birkenhead safe maker who had retired to Port Erin. Although the tower was intended as a surprise, Milner found out about it and did in fact donate much of the building costs. He set up a number of charities to help local residents and particularly poverty stricken fishermen.The tower is said to resemble the key to one of his safes.

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The walk begins along the sea front, past St Catherine’s Well ,which is a spring rather than a well that flows onto the beach. It was an important source of fresh water.

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The cliff path is signed off Spaldrick and is much more fun than continuing along the road.

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This runs above the remains of Traeth Meanagh Swimming Baths which opened in 1899 and was advertised as the largest sea baths in Britain. It was also unusual as it allowed mixed bathing and this was still a selling point until the 1930s. The sea water was refreshed daily. In the 1960s, there were galas held on Wednesday afternoons with swimming events, diving beauty contests and childrens games. The baths closed in 1981 and is now looking very run down.

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The path continues round the top of the secluded Spaldrick beach, with overgrown footpaths giving access to this.

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The path then joins the track down from the archway into Bradda Glen off Bradda East.

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A good track leads past Bradda Glen Cafe.

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From here there are two routes up to Milner’s Tower. The easier walk is to follow the road past the car park to some steps signed coronation footpath on left. This leads through trees to Raad ny Foillan, a wide grassy track leading to the top of Bradda Head.

For the steeper coastal route take the footpath on the left on the bend at the end of the car park. This leads to a Manx Wildlife Trust viewing point across the bay. The footpath crosses open hillside with bramble, bracken and heather past an old mine adit, before climbing steeply to the top of Bradda Head.

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There are views back over Port Erin.

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It is possible to climb the 40 steep steps to top of Milner’s Tower for superb views of the Calf, Cregneash peninsula, Port St Mary and Port Erin with the Langness Peninsula and the characteristic tower of St William’s College in the far distance. This is also a good place to see and hear choughs.

cont...
 
Last edited:

Eleanor

1000+ Posts
Cregneash to Port St Mary via the Chasms

This is part of a longer walk from Port Erin to Port St Mary via Creagneash

Cregneash is an isolated small settlement of crofts that is now a folk museum run by Manx National Heritage.

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A walled track leads from the village up the hill to Cregneash Radio Beacon Station.

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A footpath drop down to a derelict building that was once a cafe.

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Set above the cliffs to the south of Port St Mary, this is an area of sandstone which dips towards the sea and has suffered from slippage. This caused the sandstone to break into into large blocks separated by deep fissures. These vary from a few inches to several feet across and are very deep.

The area is fenced off and there are warning notices about keeping to the path as some of the fissures are deep and wide enough to some of them are deep enough and wide enough to completely swallow you up, never to be seen again... In summer they are overgrown with heather. This is not a place to let children or dogs run free!

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There are wonderful views along the coast to Port St Mary

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The route then picks up Raad ny Foillan ( the coastal footpath) which contines above the cliffs before dropping down to Port St Mary.

Another good walk is from The Chasms along the cliffs past Spanish Head to the Sound Cafe. From here either return long the road to Cregneash or continue along the cliffs following Raad ny Foillan to Port Erin.

cont...
 

Eleanor

1000+ Posts
Ballaglass Glen

I did this short walk from Ballaglass Station on the Manx Electric Railway to Cornaa. It can be extended down to the beach and Cornaa and back up Cornaa Glen to Glen Mona.

Ballaglass is one of the more dramatic glens with the stream falling down the glen of semi natural woodland through a series of small waterfalls and gorges. It is particularly impressive after rain, although this can make the path wet and slippery.

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cont...
 

Eleanor

1000+ Posts
Dhoon Glen

This is described as one of the island’s most dramatic glens. A stream tumbles down through the steep sided and wooded glen to reach the beach 500’ feet below. (It can be a steep walk back up!)

Access is from the Manx Electric Railway Station where there is a very good cafe.

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Below is a car parking area and the footpath down through the glen leads off this. There is a map at the start of the glen showing footpaths.

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Those shown as dotted yellow and orange lines are described as suitable ‘for beginner walkers’. They are well made although there are quite a few steps. The red and orange paths leading up to the waterfall are described as ‘for experienced walkers.’

At the start of the walk, the path goes though a bridge carrying an unclassified road.

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The waterfall which is one of the highest on the island is reached up a very steep zig zagging path

At the end of the C19th a small passenger boat named the Manx Fairy used to run daily between Douglas and Ramsey, calling at Dhoon Bay. Passengers were unloaded into small boats to spend the day on the beach or exploring the area.

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cont...
 

Eleanor

1000+ Posts
Groudle Glen

Groudle Glen was originally a remote hamlet of a few houses with a steep valley running down to a small harbour. Richard Maltby Broadbent, who had a family farm near by, opened up Groudle Glen as a tourist attraction. A large hotel was built by the main road Broadbent planted hundreds of tree on the bare hillside and promoted the glen as the ‘Fernland of Mona.’

Visitors paid a fee and could explore the rustic paths and bridges along the glen with attractions like lily ponds, dance floor, bowling and croquet greens, bandstand and various stalls. Later a waterwheel was added along with fairy lights.

Broadbent even dammed off a rocky inlet on the headland as a mini zoo with sea lions and polar bears. There were tropical birds as well as brown bear cubs which tourists could take for a walk.

As the popularity of the zoo increased, Broadbent came up with the idea of a narrow gauge railway which would run down the glen to the headland.

The mini zoo has long gone, but the Groudle Glen Railway survives and is run by enthusiastic volunteers.

It is a lovely walk dropping down from the Manx Electric Railway station to the glen.

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The waterwheel has recently been rebuilt and the wheel is turning again.

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Nothing is left of the other attractions.

Lime Kiln Halt on the Groudle Glen Railway is maned after the lime kiln above the line. The footpath from here leads to the moinor road to St Adamnan’s Church. #8

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There is a small beach at the bottom of the glen with a development of holiday cottages on the slope above.

Alternatively, it is possible to follow footpaths up the glen, walking beneath the massive stone Viaduct of the Manx Electric Railway. The footpaths are not as well made and less walked. They come out onto the A2 road opposite Molly Quirk Glen

cont...
 

Eleanor

1000+ Posts
Laxey Glen

This is one of the less well known and less visited glens. The Glen Roy River flows through a deep valley into Laxey and was developed in the mid C19th as a tourist attraction for the increasing numbers of tourist arriving by steam ship. There was a mass programme of tree planting with secluded walks, bowers and rustic seats. Visitors were charged 3d to enter and there was croquet, lawn tennis and bowling greens as well as a boating lake and dance floor. There were open air concerts and night dances lit by gas lamps. A large family home was built at entrance of the glen which had twelve bedrooms for paying guests.

No longer privately owned but part of the Manx Government, the glen is now free to enter and still attracts visitors even though the attractions are no longer there. The boating lake has been filled in and is now a grassy paddock with a small playground that is popular with families.

The formal flower gardens at the start of the glen are still maintained and are very attractive. The large house is the Laxey Glen Restaurant and coffee shop.

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Beyond a network of footpaths and bridges lead up through the wooded glen.

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For those wanting a longer walk, it is possible to continue up the glen through Axnfell Plantation and out into open countryside before dropping down into Baldrine.

cont...
 

Eleanor

1000+ Posts
Silverdale Glen

The glen follows the Silverburn River from Castletown to Ballasalla and then past Cregga Mill to the A3 and on towards Grenaby. The most popular stretch is from Ballasalla (crossing a ford on the Silver burn) to the A3.

Being close to Castletown, Silverdale was developed as a pleasure ground for Victorian visitors who were attracted by the wooded glen and the ruins of Rushen Abbey. Visitors were charged 6d to enjoy attractions in the abbey ruins like putting and bowling greens, a dance floor, peacocks and strawberry and cream teas. These have all gone although the abbey ruins still attract visitors.

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It is a pleasant walk following the burn to the C14th Monk’s Bridge.

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The road ends at a gate into woodland with a network of paths on both sides of the river, linked by bridges.

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There is a lily pond (with plenty of ducks but no water lilies when I visited), the remains of a water mill with its leat and wheel pit, as well as a small Holy Well, described on the map as a wishing well.

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The footpaths join an unclassified road between the A3 and A34 which drops down to a car park by the now disused stone Cregg Mill.

The mill pond is now a boating lake with pedalos which can be hired from the cafe, which was buit in 1910. The white building at the far end of a lake is a disused mineral water factory.

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There is a very good children’s play area including a wonderful Victorian roundabout powered by a waterwheel. This dates from about 1890 and is the only surviving and still working water powered roundabout in Europe. The horses were replaced in the 1980s. The waterwheel came from the Foxdale mines when they closed.

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The walk continues above the boating lake, following the burn through the trees to the A3 and beyond.

cont...
 

Eleanor

1000+ Posts
Summerhill Glen

At the northern end of Douglas promenade, this is accessed off Summerhill Road and climbs up the valley to come out on Victoria Road.

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This is a most attractive glen with a stream tumbling down a steep wooded valley with waterfalls and many different paths to follow.

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The glen is popular with children with different carved figures including the mermaid Gob ny Ooyl

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It is also the haunt of the fairies with a fairy well and small fairy doors on the trees.

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During summer evenings, the glen is lit up by a dramatic lighting display.
 

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