The Fern Walk is an 8.3 km short distance walk, starting and finishing in the village of Coppeen. The route comprises entirely of way marked roadways, mostly quiet country routes, apart from the first and last section which is along a short stretch of main road, and at two points where a main road has to be crossed. The walk rises a distance of 130 meters at points on the route, and then descends back into the village, where parking and other amenities are available
The entire route is marked by signage posts; this route in particular being the Fern route and is marked by green arrows.
OS Map 86
Coppeen Village W 31 7 60 4
Leaving Coppeen, you proceed eastwards (towards Cork), but after about two minutes you´ll see the first direction post on your left, which takes you on to a narrow road which meanders gently uphill, passing at the back of Cross´s Forge. Turn around to admire the view to the west, including Shehy & Nowen Hill. This route ascends for approx. 1 Km. Beautiful views from the top, particularly to the east & west. Then it descends for 1 Km. with very pleasant views of hill & valley. Keep to the right at two crossroads (watch our directional arrows) & next you´ll come to the main road (Bantry Line) Use extreme caution when crossing here. Watch for our direction posts on both sides of the road. Then it´s an uphill walk for almost 1 Km. Take a pause just before reaching the highest point (red gate on left, new tree plantation opposite) and turn around. In the distance to the north you can see Carrantouhill, The Paps, Mullaghanish (TV Transmitter Mast) & closer, Lackareigh, Gurranareigh, Cleiragh, Cork City, Greenhill & Templemartin. When you have feasted your eyes & senses, proceed southwards, & take a right at next direction post. After approx. 100 mtrs pause at a gate on your left, before reaching the bungalow just ahead. Here you have a breathtaking view. All the hills & dales of the south west coast lie before you, stretching from Kinsale to Bantry. Bring along a map & compass & enjoy! In the valley below, just a little to your right, notice historic Kinneigh Round Tower. Corran Hill, Carrigfadda, Nowen Hill & Shehy dominate the skyline all around you. Continue walking to the west, ignoring two minor roads, first one to the left, & then one to the right, straight on, then a short steep climb, to another wonderful viewing point. Coppeen village lies underneath you to your right. The panorama to the west & northwest is quite superb – sit on the stone fence to your right & soak it in! Then it´s a steep downhill stroll to the village. Note a large house (now in a state of disrepair) on your left as you descend the hill. This is Coppeen House, where the local landlord Hungerford resided. As you reach the secondary road at the foot of the hill, note a fingerpost pointing across the road to “Cahirvagliair Ringfort” well worth a visit. Then proceed along the road, past the National School & back to the village (be VERY careful when crossing the main road) By now you will be ready for the hospitality of Therése & Conor at An Caipín bar; food & drink at it´s best!
Just east of the village at the beginning of this walk, near the first signage post is Cross´s Forge (now shut down) where five generations of smiths carried on the trade. The old smithy is in good repair, unchanged since its working days. There are two ringforts in the valley near the River Bride, with a third looking down from Gurranareigh. Just before reaching the Bantry Line, you will come to a bridge, & just before this on the left was a creamery (private lane to the right).
Kinneigh Round Tower, which was built around 1000AD, is a short distance away. The tower & its adjoining graveyard are steeped in history.
Overlooking Coppeen, on your left as you descent towards the village is ´Coppeen House´ (now in disrepair) where Hungerford the local landlord resided. Towards the end of the walk, as you reach the main Coppeen to Enniskeane road (just south of the Primary School) watch for a fingerpost sign for Cahirvagliair Ringfort – just 300 mtrs. away, a “must” to visit. Note the stone archway entrance – quite unique. Just west of the fort is a fullacht fia. About 300 mtrs west of the fort (across the road from a cottage) is an interesting stone pair. Coppeen National School lies just south of Coppeen village. The original school (two buildings; boys & girls) stood nearer to the village, beside the bridge.
Between the school & the Bantry Line lies a ringfort through which the road was built in the 1950s. The outline of the fort is clearly visible.