Wildflower meadows in Northern Ireland

Ploughmans hill wildflower meadow Mount Stewart

Wander in wonder with a walk in a wildflower meadow near you. More than pretty to the eye, wildflower meadows play an important role in maintaining a healthy eco-system, providing food and a home for a variety of wildlife. Stroll through our wildflower rich meadows and discover grasslands alive with fluttering butterflies and busy bees. Listen to the quiet, that’s not quiet at all. You’ll find the air literally humming with life. Hear the bird call, the cricket chirp and the whoosh of nature at work.

Our work to create wildflower meadows near you

In the last few years we have created 15 extra hectares of wildflower meadows and verges in Belfast, Fermanagh, Cushendun, and Castleward, bringing our total meadows to over 40 hectares – that’s about 80 football pitches of meadows in Northern Ireland.

" A walk through a meadow to see our native grasses and wildflowers in bloom can really lift the spirits. Wildflowers however are not simply pretty to look at but make a big contribution to the health of other wildlife too. They attract a huge variety and number of pollinating insects including butterflies, such as meadow browns, small coppers and common blues, as well as hoverflies and bees."
- Melina Quinn, Wildlife Advisor, National Trust NI

Best places for a wildflower walk

Rowallane Garden
Bluebells are followed by splashes of yellow in kidney vetch and bird’s-foot trefoil. Then starry whites of eyebright and chickweeds appear, with the pale pink spikes of the common spotted-orchid appearing in July and the purple haze of devil’s-bit scabious blossoming in late summer.

A medley of wildflowers
A medley of wildflowers
A medley of wildflowers

Minnowburn

Meadowsweet, orchids, buttercups, yellow rattle and vetches are among the flowers and grasses that can be found at Ned's Meadow. Nestled in the heart of Belfast, this horticultural haven provides a home for moths, flies, bees and butterflies and a host of other wildlife. 

Ned's Medow, Minnowburn
wildflower meadow filled with white oxeyed daisies. A lady sits in field looking at flowers. Belfast city can be seen in the background
Ned's Medow, Minnowburn

Learn more about our work at Ned's Meadow

Video

Restoring Ned's Meadow

We've restored Ned's Meadow, a ten acre field at Minnowburn, from overworked agricultural land to a landscape rich in wildlife and biodiversity.

Castle Ward

Look out for the unmown areas across Castle Ward this summer designed to provide food and shelter for our native pollinators. Why not spent some time in our recently created ‘Broad Meadow’ where yellow rattle and common orchid are already beginning to flourish, and see also how many varieties of butterfly and bee species you can spot. 

A mowed path allows people to walk through the meadow at Castle Ward
path mowed through meadow with wildgrasses and flowers growing on either side and large trees surrounding the field
A mowed path allows people to walk through the meadow at Castle Ward

North Coast

White Park Bay and Giant’s Causeway are also home to species rich grasslands with a diverse range of wildflowers such as frog orchid, meadow cranesbill, devil’s-bit scabious, twayblade, meadow vetchling, harebell, kidney vetch, lady’s bedstraw, pyramidal orchid and the common spotted-orchid.

Wildflower meadow at the Giant's Causeway
Wildflower meadow at the Giant's Causeway
Wildflower meadow at the Giant's Causeway

Mount Stewart

Once a potato field, the 14-acre site at Ploughman’s Hill was seeded with a meadow mix of 21 varieties provided an impressive pictorial meadow including poppies, cornflowers, corn marigolds and ox-eyed daisies. The mix contains annuals for an exceptional display in the first year with perennials which get better and better from year two onwards.

Wildflower Meadow on Ploughmans Hill Mount Stewart
Wildflower Meadow on Ploughmans Hill Mount Stewart
Wildflower Meadow on Ploughmans Hill Mount Stewart

More than just meadows

As well as meadows, the National Trust manage wildflower rich dune systems, peatlands, woodlands, wetlands, gardens, hedgerows and orchards - all important for the survival of pollinators like bees, moths and butterflies. Creating your own wildflower patch is a great way to attract more pollinators to your home and play your part.

Why should you create a wildflower patch at home?

Maybe you are wondering why you would want more insects around your home when we spend most of the summer trying to move them out of the house. There’s a reason insects are called pollinators. Without insects pollinating the flowers and vegetables, there would be no flowers or vegetables. More bees, butterflies, flies, wasps and beetles mean more flowers and vegetables. That's why pollinators are so important - they provide the food we eat.

Here's some other benefits to letting wildlife thrive in your home:

Ants provide a free garden cleaning service, tidying away detritus and dead insects.

Ground beetles are the perfect ninjas for guarding your vegetables. The devil’s coach horse beetle loves to eat the slugs that prey on your fresh lettuces.

Ladybirds and soldier beetles eat the aphids that attack your roses.

Bugs may be at the bottom of the food chain but they attract the more visible wildlife that we like to see in our garden such as hedgehogs, frogs, foxes and birds.

Woodlice attract birds to your garden in winter. They contain more calcium than snails and so help birds produce eggs in spring.