Rathlin Kebble 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.


Kebble & Kinramer Nature Reserve incorporates the town lands of Kebble, Kinramer North and Kinramer South.  This beautiful area is located approximately 6 miles off the North coast of Ballycastle in County Antrim and is found at the west end of Rathlin Island.

Sights and sound

Rathlin Kebble & Kinramer is home to an extensive area of grassland and dry heath.  It is also known as an area of failed forestry plantation resulting in stunted coniferous and deciduous scrub, together with a reed swamp/fen, marsh and freshwater lake situated on an uneven plateau.  It is bordered on three sides by precipitous cliffs and associated scree.  There are six sea stacks immediately offshore.  This reserve is important as it is home to a variety of breeding birds.

At the western end of Rathlin Island, sheer cliffs rise more than 100 metres above raised beaches of rounded cobbles, while towering stacks of rock stand guard just off the shore.

The best time of the year to visit Kebble is the height of the breeding season for seabirds, early May to mid July, when the rough faces of the cliffs and rocky islands are crowded with thousands of breeding seabirds. Guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars raise their young on bare ledges, while puffins nest in burrows dug into the cliff-side grassland. Peregrine falcons, buzzards and ravens also build nests on cliff ledges.

Early summer sees the island's orchids in bloom and a trip in August will be rewarded by the beautiful sight of the heath lands in full flower. Above the cliff top stretches an area of rough grassland and heather, broken by a lake and an area of marsh.

These wet areas attract nesting waterfowl such as ducks, snipe, grebes and coots. Rabbits and hares graze on the reserve, while grey seals can be seen hauling themselves out onto the rocky foreshore.

There is a picnic table available at Kebble cottage and toilet facilities at West Light. The roadway through the reserve is used by traffic going to the West Light RSPB viewpoint. Cyclists are also advised to dismount when crossing the cattle grids.

There are grazing animals on this reserve: please respect the countryside code, use stiles, leave gates as found and no dogs allowed except for assistance dogs.


  • picnic table at Kebble cottage
  • toilet facilities at West Light

Further information

The roadway through the reserve is used by traffic going to the West Light RSPB viewpoint. Cyclists, please dismount when crossing the cattle grids. Grazing livestock including bull on Reserve .

For further details contact Roe Valley Country Park Tel. 028 7772 1925

Back to top