Murlough National Nature Reserve, Newcastle
(4.6/5 based on 180+ reviews on the web)
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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TripAdvisor
  • After a long break, too long, revisited Murlough. Took a long walk in the November sunshine and finished up in the wee cafe for coffee and cakes. All just superb, can't recommit highly enough. 
  • I came at the end of the day. I was completely captured by the dunes swathed in heather, long grasses, ferns. I didn't see much wildlife on my visit but took my best pictures of the day. I wasn't dete...  more »
  • Our little family visited this gorgeous national nature reserve on one of many days spent in Newcastle! Breathtaking scenery! Our then 5 year old took her bike which she happily cycled up and down the...  more »