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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • The most tranquil place for a walk at any time of the day! Saturday morning was very fresh & crisp but it was so peaceful & calm walking along the beach & then strolling back through the nature reserv...  more »
  • Fab views and walks. Lovely beach. Good for walkers and dogs. Well worth a visit. Take a picnic on a good day and just enjoy Northern Irelands hidden beaches. 
  • 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.