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Murlough National Nature Reserve

Dundrum Road, Dundrum, County Down, BT33 0NQ
Murlough National Nature Reserve

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About

Murlough National Nature Reserve is a fragile 6000 year old sand dune system owned by the National Trust and managed as Ireland’s first Nature Reserve since 1967.

It is an excellent area for walking and bird watching due to its spectacular location at the edge of Dundrum Bay and the Mourne Mountains.

It offers the best and most extensive example of dune heath within Ireland, a network of paths and boardwalks through the dunes, woodland and heath with an array of butterflies and wild flowers. One of 23 butterfly species, the Marsh Fritillary, is of European importance. The reserve is internationally important for wintering wildfowl and waders as well as a haul-out site for Common and Grey seals.

There is evidence of human habitation from Neolithic times, through the Bronze Age to the present day and access to one of the finest beaches in County Down, complete with stunning panoramic views of the Mountains of Mourne sweeping down to the sea. There is a self-guided nature walk and additional guided walks and volunteer events throughout the year.

The Trust maintains coastal and mountain paths for hikers to Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland’s much loved highest mountain, and neighbouring Slieve Commedagh. The walks offer spectacular scenery and access up to the Mourne Wall and into the Inner Mournes. The Mourne Coastal Footpath stretches for a mile and a half south of the historic site of Bloody Bridge. From Bloody Bridge you can follow the intriguingly named Brandy Pad, an ancient smuggler’s route from the shore into the heart of the mountains.

There are 1300 acres of upland, comprised principally of dry and wet heath and acid grasslands, home to rare montane lichen communities.

Visitor facilities include – Nature reserve, coast, country walk, access for visitors with disabilities, suitable for picnics, learning opportunities. Dogs welcome on leads.

Guide Prices

See website for parking prices

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Tel +44 (0) 28 4375 1467

Map & Directions

Opening Times

* See website for opening times

What's Nearby

  1. This 5 mile stretch of golden sands is still the essence of the resort and is hugely…

    0.68 miles away
  2. Set in spectacular surroundings overlooking Dundrum inner Bay these fine Georgian…

    1.12 miles away
  3. Believed to have been built in or around 1177, Dundrum Castle was built by John De Courcy…

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  1. Maghera Church and Round Tower is of major historical importance and is among many…

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  2. The Maize Maze is the only one of its kind in Northern Ireland. A massive 6 acre field of…

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  4. The Shimna River is a river in County Down, Northern Ireland. It rises on the slopes of…

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  5. Newcastle's Parks consist of outdoor facilities at the Castle and Island parks. Castle…

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  6. The Mourne Coastal Route has a few start off points from the County Down coastline,…

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  7. The High Mournes Scenic Loop delves into the very heart of the famous Mourne Mountains…

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  8. The Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is located in the south-east corner of…

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  9. We are a family run farm park based just outside Newcastle, County Down. Established in…

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  10. The Mourne Wall is 22 miles long and consists of natural granite stone which was…

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  11. Donard park is a beautiful park located in the lovely town of Newcastle County Down, next…

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  12. Newcastle is a small drying harbour with fixed fore/aft moorings and consists of two…

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  13. Tollymore Forest Park has panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the sea at…

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Map & Directions

Road Directions

Directions from Town:Bus: Ulsterbus No 20 between Belfast and Newcastle. For Murlough, alight at Lazy BJ Caravan Park after Dundrum. For Slieve Donard travel to Newcastle. Car: For Murlough follow signs on A24, 2ml South of Dundrum. Parking for Slieve Donard in Newcastle or Bloody Bridge on A2, 2mls south of Newcastle. Drive time: 45 minutes from Belfast.

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