Trailhead: Ballyvaughan, County Clare
Distance/Time: 8km / 1.5hrs – 2 hrs
Terrain: Minor roadways, green lanes, woodland, cross country
To Suit: Average level of fitness
Minimum Gear: Trekking shoes, raingear, fluid and mobile phone
The Burren and its unfolding layers of limestone form terraces on the slopes of the hills and the area has been described as a ‘lunar’ landscape.
This loop starts in the village of Ballyvaughan – a walkers welcome town and takes you close to Aillwee Cave – the most famous of the ancient caves beneath the Burren.
Starting from the town of Ballyvaughan follow the R447 (towards Fanore) for 300m past thatched cottages and across a bridge to reach a roadway on the left. Turn left here and follow the purple arrows along a roadway past the Primary School. Veer right here and follow the various arrows across a series of stone stiles and wooded sections to exit into a field which takes you to a surfaced roadway where the Burren Way turns right – but you follow the purple arrows and turn left.
Follow the surfaced roadway for 300m to reach the main N67 road where you turn left, and almost immediately, turn right again onto a minor road. Follow this road to its conclusion at a metal gate into a field. Cross the stile and follow the purple arrows across the fields, stiles and sandy roadways to exit at the entrance to Aillwee Cave where you turn left.
Now follow the roadway for 2km to reach a T-junction where you turn left, pass through a gateway and join a ‘green’ laneway. Follow this laneway for 300m to exit at a double gate. Continue straight as the laneway changes to a surfaced roadway and eventually reaches a T-junction where you turn left. D-A. After 400m on this surfaced road you join the N67 Galway road where you turn left for the last 500m back to the trailhead.
Caution: Rocks are slippery when wet.
Ballyvaughan, County Clare