Magilligan Point 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.

Designation

Grid Reference: C 660390

Description

Magilligan Point is the tip of one of the largest sand dune systems in the British Isles. The way the coastline constantly changes here is of particular interest and is one of the main reasons the site has been declared a nature reserve.

Many metres of sand dune can disappear in a sudden winter storm in what may appear to be severe erosion. However, the cycling of sand around the foreland and out to the Tunns Bank has been going on for centuries. The dunes have advanced and retreated again many times. In the last 20 years, more than 50 scientific papers have been published about Magilligan and the story is still being unravelled.

In summer, many different wild flowers add a splash of colour to the dunes. Harebells and Bird's-foot Trefoil are followed later by Thyme and Pyramidal Orchids.

On warm days, butterflies such as the common blue or meadow brown are plentiful. Also look out for the six-spot Burnet moth. For birdwatchers, Magilligan Point offers good views of seabirds using the narrows and in winter, migrating waders and wildfowl.

The Martello Tower was built in the early 1800s, as much for defence against American privateers as against the threat from France. It was equipped with a 24 pounder cannon and a garrison of 13. Over 200 similar towers exist worldwide.

Facilities

Car park at end of public road. Interpretation panel. No formal paths.
Contact the Site manager on Tel: 028 703 59977.
Search www.northcoastni.com for further information and places of interest near Magilligan.

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