National Trust celebrates 50 years guardianship of Northern Ireland’s first nature reserve

Murlough National Nature Reserve, Dundrum, Co Down, Northern Ireland's first ever nature reserve is celebrating 50 years under the care of the National Trust
Murlough National Nature Reserve, Dundrum, Co Down, Northern Ireland's first ever nature reserve is celebrating 50 years under the care of the National Trust

Murlough National Nature Reserve, Dundrum, Co Down, Northern Ireland’s first ever nature reserve is celebrating 50 years under the care of the National Trust, Northern Ireland’s largest conservation charity. 

Often described as one of Northern Ireland’s best loved secrets, Murlough is an area of huge scientific importance, being rich is flora, fauna and wildlife.

Visitors to this special place will also know that it boasts one of Northern Ireland’s finest beaches and offers breath-taking views of the Mourne Mountains.

To celebrate this 50th anniversary the National Trust are running a series of events throughout the year and everyone is welcome to join in the fun.

Visitors are also being encouraged to share any photos they capture on the reserve using #Murloughis50 on social media, tagging Murlough National Nature Reserve - National Trust on Facebook, and @NtMurlough on Instagram and Twitter.

Official celebrations start on Sunday, March 19 with a very special walk around the reserve led by the original warden, naturalist and current National Trust volunteer Jo Whatmough.

Using her knowledge and expertise, Jo will give a fascinating insight into Murlough over the last 6,000 years.

Other calendar highlights will include Rubbish Art in July, a unique project to create art from rubbish found on the beach; Big Beach Art in August and a very special birthday party in September.

A small team of National Trust staff and volunteers help care for the reserve, managing and maintaining it for generations to come, none of which would be possible without visitor support.

“Without National Trust intervention this incredibly valuable and fragile place would have probably turned into a commercial forest covered by Corsican Pine,” explains Patrick Lynch, lead ranger, Murlough Nature Reserve.

“50 years is a fantastic achievement for us but we couldn’t have done it without the support off our members, the community and our visitors. That’s why we want everyone to celebrate this important milestone with us by getting involved in the anniversary activities.

“We’d also love visitors to share their pictures of Murlough with us on social media, helping us to showcase this magnificent place to the world.”

Murlough National Nature Reserve is of international importance for its flora, fauna and archaeology and contains nearly 16% of the UK’s Dune Heath.

Over 720 species of butterfly and moths can be found here including the rare marsh fritillary butterfly.

A mixture of cattle, ponies and rabbits can be found grazing the land on a normal days walk around the dunes.

You can find more information about Murlough’s 50th birthday by visiting www.nationaltrust.org.uk/murlough-national-nature-reserve for all the latest information.

If you would like to be part of the team who help conserve Murlough by offering financial support or through volunteering please e-mail murlough@nationaltrust.org.uk.