Skip to content

Visiting Murlough NNR with your dog

A small dog on the lead standing at the beach
Dog on the beach at Murlough NNR | © National Trust Images / James Dobson

Dogs are welcome at Murlough National Nature Reserve. With acres of coastline and woodland to explore there are plenty of opportunities for bounding, jumping, sniffing and splashing through the sea.

Our pawprint rating system

We’ve been working on making it easier for you to find out how dog-friendly your visit will be before you and your four-legged friend arrive. To help with this, we've created a new pawprint rating system and given all the places in our care a rating. You can find this information in the National Trust members’ handbook.

Murlough National Nature Reserve is a one pawprint rated place.

Dogs are welcome here, but facilities are limited. They’ll be able to stretch their legs in the car park and walk in the nearby open spaces. Read on to discover exactly where you can take your dog.

Where can my dog go at Murlough NNR?

Dogs on leads are welcome across the Nature Reserve. However, please beware of animal grazing areas and ground nesting bird sections of the reserve, these will be out of bounds for your dog.

What do I need to be aware of at Murlough NNR?

Dogs must be kept on leads at all times on the Nature Reserve including on the trails, due to their varied nature.

There are animal grazing across the Nature Reserve, as well as a variety of wildlife – please do keep your dog on a lead for the safety of all and look out for information about ground nesting bird season.

The Canine Code

We’ve worked with our partner Forthglade to come up with this Canine Code, which helps to make sure everyone can enjoy their day:

  • Keep them close: using a short lead helps to keep your dog from disturbing ground-nesting birds and farm animals. It's essential to use a short lead around sheep. But if cattle approach you, it's best to let your dog off the lead, and call them back when it's safe to do so.
  • Pick up the poo: please always clear up after your dog. If you can't find a bin nearby, take the poo bags home with you.
  • Watch the signs: keep an eye on local signs and notices wherever you're walking. They'll tell you if a beach has a dog ban, for instance, or if a path has been diverted, or if you're in an area where dogs can run off-lead.
  • Stay on the ball: remember that not everyone loves dogs, and some people fear them. So make sure your dog doesn't run up to other people, especially children.
Plants growing in the dunes and a view to the Mourne Mountains from Murlough National Nature Reserve, County Down

Discover more at Murlough National Nature Reserve

Find out when Murlough National Nature Reserve is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

Our partners


We've partnered with natural pet food maker Forthglade so that you and your dog can get even more out of the special places we care for.

Visit website 

You might also be interested in

Two walkers with dogs on a grassy area next to a stone bridge, crossing a broad, shallow river

Dog-friendly places to visit 

Discover the best places for a dog walk, from coastal adventures and dramatic mountains to more leisurely walks near you. Plus find information on dog-friendly cafés and read our Canine Code.

Two people leaning against a wall, with a fluffy golden-brown dog looking at a packet of treats

Visiting National Trust places with your dog 

If you’re bringing your dog to the places we care for, here’s information on the Canine Code and pawprint rating system to plan your visit.

Dog enjoying a Forthglade treat at Attingham Park, Shropshire

How we're working with Forthglade for dog-friendly visits 

We've partnered with natural pet food maker Forthglade to create the Dogs Welcome project, helping you and your dog to get the most out of the places in our care.

A brown, orange and cream patterned male Marsh Fritillary butterfly

Exploring Murlough National Nature Reserve 

A visit to Murlough National Nature Reserve is a wildlife lover’s dream with hundreds of insects, swathes of beautiful wildflowers, mammals and birds all to be discovered.

Visitors walking their dog at Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House, Country Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Dog-friendly places in Northern Ireland 

With water bowls, hitching posts and plenty of ground to cover, the places in our care aren't just for history-loving hounds. The sandy beaches and woodland trails on offer are a dog-walker's dream. From dog exercise areas to dog-friendly accommodation, discover a slice of canine heaven when visiting with your four-legged friend.

View over the sand dunes towards the Mourne Mountains at Murlough National Nature Reserve, County Down

History of Murlough National Nature Reserve 

The dune system at Murlough is estimated at being up to 6,000 years old. Discover the history of the dunes, and how Murlough came to be Ireland’s first national nature reserve.