Murlough National Nature Reserve, Newcastle

4.6
#1 of 22 in Wildlife Areas in Northern Ireland
Mountain Wildlife Area
Murlough Nature Reserve lies on the coast of County Down in Northern Ireland, situated close to Newcastle. It offers spectacular views of Slieve Donard, the highest peak in the Mourne Mountains and Dundrum Bay. Its 6,000-year-old sand dune system has been managed by the National Trust since 1967, when it became Ireland's first nature reserve. Grid ref: J414351.FeaturesAt 697 acres, it is the best and most extensive example of dune heath within Ireland, with a network of paths and boardwalks through the dunes. Breeding birds include meadow pipit, skylark, cuckoo, stonechat, linnet and reed bunting. Shorehauling grey seal and common seals are also common in the area. Between 50 and 130 common and grey seals regularly use the area for moulting, resting and feeding. Rare plants local to the site are pyramidal orchid and carline thistle.It also has access to one of the finest beaches in County Down.Murlough makes up one fifth of all dune heathland in the British Isles, but remains under threat from the encroachment of scrub vegetation such as bracken and gorse and non-native species such as Sea Buckthorn. In 1999 the National Trust established the South Down Heathland project, a five-year programme to protect the habitat. It has been designated an Area of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation.
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  • Murlough Nature Reserve is truly amazing. I often visit the reserve for long walks along the spotless, sandy beach into the resort of Newcastle. The reserve and beach is very well maintained and is al...  more »
  • Lovely scenery on beautiful day pity it is such a long trek from carpark to beach with a 1year old in very warm day.  more »
  • This is a great asset to the area and to tourism in NI. Well managed by the National Trust it offers world-class beaches which can be enjoyed by everyone including dog owners and their pooches. Everyo...  more »