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Visitor walking across the sand dunes at Murlough National Nature Reserve, County Down, Northern Ireland
Visitor walking across the sand dunes at Murlough National Nature Reserve | © National Trust Images/James Dobson
Northern Ireland

Murlough North Point nature trail

Discover the beauty of Murlough with a walk through this National Nature Reserve. With the majestic Mourne Mountains as a backdrop, Murlough is home to 22 butterfly species – including the marsh fritillary, which is of European importance. Follow this self-guided trail to discover the history, biology and conservation of this special place.

Fancy something shorter?

If you're looking for a slightly shorter walk, there are two points (at steps 4 and 9) where you can easily cut back to the start.

Total steps: 11

Total steps: 11

Start point

Keel Point, concrete standing. Grid ref: 410351

Step 1

Follow the avenue from the concrete standing towards Murlough House. Turn right onto the boardwalk, which is clearly marked by the ‘To beach’ sign.

Step 2

As you follow the boardwalk path through the woodland area, be sure to stop at the gate, where you'll be treated to your first glimpse of the sea.

Step 3

Carry on until you reach the beach. Take a moment to enjoy the wide expanse of shingle storm beach that stretches 4 miles (6.4 km) across the bay. Turn left and walk along the beach until you reach the green marker post.

Step 4

Turn left and take the path that climbs steeply up into marram grass and sea buckthorn, then into a sycamore wood. Turn right before reaching the garden of Murlough House.

Step 5

Follow the path into the area of woodland. Ignore the left turn and continue along the path, down the slope, emerging on the beach next to the boathouse.

Step 6

From the boathouse, turn left and walk along the beach until you reach the green post. Take the path to the left, up the bank and back onto the hazel path.

Step 7

At the junction with the main track, turn right and follow the path along the edge (ignoring a turn to the left). Follow the path as it descends into high gorse scrub and turns right onto the beach of the inner bay.

Step 8

Turn left and walk along the beach until you reach a narrow set of steps up the bank. Go up these steps and follow the path back into the reserve.

Step 9

As you follow the path, you'll come to a point where five paths meet. Take the first left, which runs through open heathland, and you'll eventually get to a stile, leading to a main track.

Step 10

Turn left and take the next path to the right. This path rises to one of the highest points in this area, which provides great views in all directions. From this point, continue along the track downhill and to the right, which will take you in the general direction of the Mournes Mountains.

Step 11

When you reach the avenue, turn left and follow the road back to the starting point.

End point

Keel Point, concrete standing. Grid ref: 410351

Trail map

Murlough North Point trail map
Map of the route | © Land and Property Services permit no 120099, ©Crown Copyright 2013

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Get in touch

Keel Point, Dundrum, County Down, BT33 0LW

Our partners

Cotswold Outdoor

We’ve partnered with Cotswold Outdoor to help everyone make the most of their time outdoors in the places we care for.

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