Car is probably the best option for getting to this parkrun, as no public transport services get into the village of Garvagh in time for the run. For parking, there is a small car park at the forest but if that fills up there is parking available at the nearby St. Paul’s church or Jim Watts sports centre. The parkrun is easily accessible for anyone living in Garvagh, being close to the village centre. There are no toilets or changing facilities at this parkrun, but there is a public toilet in the village.
This course couldn’t be easier to follow, made up of two outer loops around the forest followed by a smaller inner loop. There are signposts showing where to go anywhere the forest paths overlap. There is a decent ascent on this run, which I didn’t realise until I was at the far end of the lap where there is a fairly steep downhill section. Climbing is very gradual. The surface is all forest trails, mostly consisting of light gravel. The course goes through the forest so the course is surrounded by trees at all times, which I always like. The trees provide shelter from the wind and rain in the winter and the sunshine in the summer.
The village of Garvagh has two cafes where parkrunners can go to get breakfast or coffee. While there, if you have a sweet tooth, try out a fifteen, a cake local to Ulster.
As always, I am fascinated by the local stories that you come across on parkrun tourist adventures. There is a pyramid near the entrance of Garvagh forest which was built by the first Lord Garvagh, George Canning, after a grand tour of Egypt. He had intended to be buried there but later had a change of heart and ordered the entrance of the pyramid closed. It is unused to this day, but remains a striking feature, a hidden gem in the middle of a rural forest.