Hollymount Forest National Nature Reserve

Nature reserves are chosen from among the very best examples of our wildlife, habitats and geology. They contain a wide range of species, communities and geology and their designation is a public recognition by Government of their importance.


Grid Reference: J 464438


A low-lying, regularly flooded marshland largely surrounded by wooded drumlins. Wet woodland or carr has developed undisturbed on the site since 1745 when a tidal barrage across the Quoile estuary excluded the sea from the Downpatrick marshes.

The dense carr of alder and willow trees is probably the oldest remaining and certainly one of the finest examples of this wetland habitat in Ulster. The trees are encrusted in a rich layer of lichen growth, while sedges, yellow flag iris and other wetland plants dominate the ground below.
Tall, ancient mounds of the tussock sedge stand up to 1.5m high, sometimes forming the rooting base for trees such as ash and birch. Fen and reed swamp habitats cover the remaining areas.

The slow-rising, water-filled ditches which occur in parts of the reserve are the principal sites for the rare and beautiful water violet. Holes in ancient, decaying alder trees provide perfect nesting sites for the elusive treecreeper which relies on the abundance of insects found in these wetland habitats.


None. Parking along roadside verges.

Please note, wetland areas can be difficult to access and are fragile. You must contact the Site manager before you visit.

They can be contacted at the Quoile Countryside Centre. Tel 028 4461 5520.

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