Wildlife at Portstewart Strand

Our dunes, estuary and beach provide a haven for all sorts of wildlife.

Wild flowers

Cattle grazes the dunes over winter, allowing wild flowers like Birdsfoot trefoil, Wild thyme, Pyramidal orchid and the Northern marsh orchid to flourish. In summer butterflies and moths flutter around the dunes.

Butterflies and moths

Several butterfly species are living in the sand dunes, like the Common Blue and Small Heath. On rarer occasions we've been lucky to spot he Clouded Yellow and the Small Copper.
There are over 400 different species of moths recorded in Northern Ireland. Two of them are the Six-spot Burnet moth and the Cinnebar moth; day-flying moths which can appear scary with their vibrant red spots and lines.


The Bann Estuary is home to many different birds. For example a colony of herons can be found as well as mute swans in the winter time.


Occasionally the odd seal will pop up its head to watch you sun bathing on the beach. Basking skarks, dolphins and porpoises visit from time to time as well.

Area of Special Scientific Interest

Portstewart Strand and the Bann Estuary are designated an Area of Special Scientific Interest. The dunes are 6000 years old and with the river cutting through the dune system, it offers a mosaic of habitats for wildlife.
Our cattle graze the sand dunes in a fenced area from late summer to early spring, and they doing a very important job. By keeping the sword height short wild flowers can flourish.