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Ponies on Murlough National Nature Reserve, County Down, Northern Ireland
Dramatic landscapes wherever you turn | © National Trust Images / Joe Cornish
Northern Ireland

Murlough south end nature 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. This trail will take you through Murlough's wide range of habitats, including heathland, species-rich grassland, gorse and bracken scrub, and woodland, plus points of historical interest along the way.

Total steps: 10

Total steps: 10

Start point

Murlough Car Park, grid ref: J394338

Step 1

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

Step 2

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

Step 3

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

Step 4

This brings you out onto Murlough beach. To find Step 5 go onto the beach and turn left. Follow on past a black marker post until you reach the next yellow post.

Step 5

Turn left back onto the Reserve from the beach.

Step 6

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

Step 7

This step brings you to the area that is home to colonies of the endangered marsh fritillary butterfly.

Step 8

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.

Step 9

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.

Step 10

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).

End point

Murlough Car Park, grid ref: J394338

Trail map

Route map for south trail at Murlough NNR
Route map for south trail at Murlough NNR | © Land and Property Services permit no. 120099 Crown Copyright (2013)

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More near here

Visitor walking across the sand dunes at Murlough National Nature Reserve, County Down, Northern Ireland

Murlough North Point nature trail 

Discover the beauty of Murlough with a walk through this National Nature Reserve, home to 22 species of butterfly.

DistanceMiles: 3 (km: 4.8)
Woodland at Murlough National Nature Reserve

Murlough Woodland Walk 

A self-guided walk to celebrate what is so special about Murlough.

DistanceMiles: 1 (km: 1.6) to miles: 1.5 (km: 2.4)

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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