Murlough south end nature trail

Walking trail

Welcome to Murlough National Nature Reserve, a fragile 6000 year old sand dune system cared for by the National Trust and managed as Ireland’s first nature reserve since 1967. Murlough is home to a wide range of habitats including heathland, species-rich grassland, lichen-rich hollows, gorse and bracken scrub, and woodland. The trail initially follows the main visitor walkway, Slidderyford Path, to the beach. After a short walk along the beach you enter the central reserve via the Archaeology Path. From here the trail loops back to the car park by way of the back track. The trail is marked with yellow-topped posts and has a number of points of interest along it.

Ponies on Murlough National Nature Reserve, County Down, Northern Ireland


Route map for south trail at Murlough NNR


Murlough Car Park, grid ref: J394338


Start at the main Murlough Car Park at The Cottage Café. Enter the Reserve through the pedestrian gate in the center of the car park. Turn left and follow the boardwalk.


Follow the boardwalk to spaghetti junction, where the boardwalks meet.


Continue down the boardwalks until you reach a gap in the dunes to the south which you can take in a great view of the Mournes Mountains.

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This brings you out onto Murlough beach. To find 'stop five' go onto the beach and turn left. Follow on past a black marker post until you reach the next yellow post.


Turn left back onto the Reserve from the beach.


You have found yourself on the aptly named Archaeology Path, follow this path until you reach the next yellow post.


Stop seven, brings you to the area that is home to colonies of the endangered marsh fritillary butterfly.

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When you reach the yellow post marked 8, you'll find 'Tomorrow’s Heathland Heritage' site with its vast array of bell and ling heather.

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Turn left and follow the path to get good views of Dundrum Castle and the farmland that used to be a satellite landing ground for bombers during the Second World War.


Continue on the path that curves to the right to bring you to the Exmoor Kraal. On reaching the gravel lane, turn left (south) and return to the car park - 0.75 miles (1.2 km).


Murlough Car Park, grid ref: J394338

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Murlough south end nature trail


Please keep to the paths to avoid disturbance to wildlife and please note that there may be some access restrictions at certain times of year. Dogs on leads are welcome. Please be advised that only parts of this walk are suitable for people with restricted mobility.

Murlough south end nature trail

Contact us

Telephone; 028 4375 1467


Murlough south end nature trail

How to get here

Murlough National Nature Reserve, Keel Point, Dundrum, BT33 0NQ
By road

From Dundrum Village head northeast on Dundrum Road A2, toward Old Road. Continue to follow A2 for 2.1 miles (3.4 km). From Newcastle, head northwest on the Belfast Road, A2, for 1.6 miles (2.6 km).

By bicycle

NCN99 (Belfast to Newry) passes entrance.

Murlough south end nature trail

Facilities and access

  • Toilets situated in main car park
  • Refreshments available at The Cottage Café
  • National Trust car park (free to members)