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An extraordinarily beautiful dune landscape

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.

There is a network of paths and boardwalks through the dunes, woodland and heath from where you will see an array of butterflies and wild flowers, as well as access to one of the finest beaches in Co. Down.

The dune fields at Murlough are the best and most extensive example of dune heath within Ireland with over 600 species of butterflies and moths, one of which, the Marsh Fritillary butterfly, is of European importance. The site is internationally important for wintering wildfowl and waders.

Autumn at Murlough

Murlough Nature Reserve on an autumn morning © Peter Harbinson

Murlough Nature Reserve on an autumn morning

The summer season has definitely let go and the autumn falls rapidly upon us.
As you get to know a place like Murlough and observe its many natural features you realise there is no distinct division between its seasons.

Once again the signs of summer are waning and autumn is advancing. The dumbing down of summer green is soon coloured by the many shades of browns and yellows – deepening as the weeks go by.

Upcoming events

  • Volunteers mending a bridge © National Trust/Murlough

    Get stuck in at Murlough

    Come along and help the Rangers with a days essential habitat management. Physical work involved....

  • Enjoy our Autumn Walk © Raphael Mason

    Autumn walk

    In conjunction with Great NI Walk, enjoy a 5 mile coastal walk around this National Nature Reserv...

  • Common and grey seals are found at Strangford Lough all year round. © Craig McCoy

    Seals and seabirds

     Come along and improve your natural history field skills. 

Array of wildlife delights


The home of the marsh fritillary butterfly and an array of wildlife delights. Watch out for our day flying moths - the cinnabar and the six-spot burnet moth can be found in abundance.

Bring your camera and snap some shots of our many species of birds and butterflies.

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