This easy 9 km long loop walk starts and finishes at the old schoolhouse at Ceathru Thaidhg. It is a pleasant walk winding through fields and the seashore.
Numerous lazy beds, or old potato ridges, come into views. In the south-west direction towards the sea the rundale, or open field system of agriculture still practised here, can be seen.
The track reaches 156m high at Garter Hill, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding area, and following south-eastwards it passes nearby an old church.
After a stroll on the seashore following a track, walkers can see an old settlement site, a graveyard and the “Caochan Sculpture”, a component of the Tír Sáile - The North Mayo Sculpture Trail.
Following right the track leads back to the old schoolhouse.
The estimated time is 2 hour 10 mins.
Old potato ridges, or 'lazy beds' as they are sometimes referred to, are parallel banks of ridges dug by spade, with narrow drainage channels between them, where seaweed fertiliser was applied to improve the ground.
Their name comes from the fact that the soil or the sods beneath the ridge was not dug, thus forming a furrow.
Potatoes (sometimes also oats) were often grown in this way, until the potato blight caused the Great Famine.
These 'lazy beds' are historic evidence of the 19th century population explosion and subsequent famine when Mayo's population was reduced by half.
Machair, a unique type of sand dune habitat, can be seen in the surrounding area of Garter Hill. It is found only in the west coast of Ireland from Galway to Donegal and Scotland.
Machair refers to grassy plains formed on wind-blown calcareous sands. It is flat and close to water and produces a short turf grassland very rich.
Machair consists of a mixture of siliceous sand derived from glacial tills and sediments and calcareous sand derived from the shells of animals which lived on the offshore platform.
Machair is a completely vegetation covered coastal plain, marram and lyme grass being the most common varieties found. Orchids can be found in some locations.
Grazing has an important role in machair formation and keeps the characteristic plant community in balance. It is now of great scientific interest and has been preserved.
The “Caochan Sculpture”, a component of the Tír Sáile - The North Mayo Sculpture Trail is a monument based on the local legend associated with the one eyed giant. One hundred metre long construction, using earth and local stone. When viewed from site entrance the very long face shrinks to present the correct proportions.
Originally the Old Chapel had a thatched roof and later it was roofed with corrugated iron. There were a wooden altar and no seating. In 1911 a gale tore the roof off and the walls were heavily damaged.
Rundale is a common grazing land with no fences where cows and sheep roam over the whole area. Just before crop begins to grow they are removed; they will be allowed to return after the harvesting season.
In a north westwards direction the work made by the Land Commission between 1922 and 1935 can be seen. The commission divided and re-allocated strips of land causing the decline of the Rundale system.
Old Settlement Site consists of round thatched houses built with dry stones and mud. It was abandoned in favour of a more sheltered area inland.
Around the site lazy-beds can be seen. This suggests once the location was a fertile soil, today is an area of sand dunes.