A small tortoiseshell butterfly on a buddleiay

Read about our three main types of habitat and how they encourage wildlife at Mount Stewart.


A lily surrounded by lilypads on the lake


The wetland areas and the lake are important features of nature conservation on the Mount Stewart estate.

The main open body of water on the estate is the lake. The lake is part of the amenity area within Mount Stewart and this is reflected in the large amount of amenity planting around the lake. Significant among these is the white water lily and red water lily.

Water birds are a common feature on the lake and include the swan, mallard, coot, young grey heron, moorhen and little grebe.

A variety of common wetland and aquatic invertebrates have also been recorded in the lake including snails, damselflies and beetles. More notable is the whirlpool ramshorn snail.

There is an open-water channel in the sea plantation which is fringed by reedbeds, fen and wet woodland areas.

There are a few other wetland areas including streams and some lying marshy areas within the woodland plantation.

Common spotted orchid
Common spotted orchid growing among other wildflowers
Common spotted orchid


The area in front of the main house contains a number of specimen trees, well spaced in a parkland arrangement.

For the most part the grasslands are semi-improved with cock's foot, yorkshire fog, festuca rubra, sweet vernal grass, meadow fescue and agrostis capillaris among the grasses present.

Common sorrel, white clover, prunella vulgaris, mouse ear, creeping buttercup and daisy are common throughout the grassland.

Coastal grassland

The area of coastal grassland is limited to a small fringe around the edge of the Sea Plantation.

Included within the sward are abundant red fescue, ribwort plantain, sweet vernal grass and bramble.

Meadow vetchling, red clover and tufted vetch are occasional, while black knapweed, cat's ear, lady's bedstraw, yarrow, false oat grass, ivy, creeping thistle and bird's foot trefoil are also occasional in patches.

Our trees reach into the sky as far as the eye can see
Woodland at Mount Stewart
Our trees reach into the sky as far as the eye can see


Mount Stewart estate is comprised mainly of woodland areas, most originating from plantation woodland. Scattered areas of semi-natural broadleaf woodland have established themselves throughout the estate.

Areas of coniferous woodland are mostly located in the north-west part of the estate. For the most part, these areas are shrub and herb poor, and of limited biological interest. However, they're important in terms of the continuity of wooded areas in the overall landscape. Thus, they're locally significant for species such as the red squirrel and the cloaked pug moth.

Broadleaf plantation

The remainder of the woodland blocks are mainly composed of broadleaf plantation. The broadleaf plantation is of varying age, the older part originating from planting during the 18th and 19th century.

These woodlands are dominated by beech and - due to dense shading within - have retained a plantation character. Where beech is less dominant, the woodland has developed a shrub layer of mostly ash and sycamore. To a lesser extent, elder and holly are also present.

The more recent broadleaf plantations contain a variety of species with oak and ash as significant constituents.

Red squirrel at Mount Stewart

Help protect the Red Squirrels

Donate today and your contribution will go towards both the immediate short-term supplementary feed and monitoring of the red squirrel recovering population and our longer term woodland management to restore the habitats and biodiversity needed for a functioning woodland ecosystem.