Marlbank 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.


Marlbank Nature Reserves, taking in Hanging Rock, Cladagh Glen, Crossmurrin and Killykeeghan is located between Florence court (Cladagh Glen) and the Showcaves on the Marlbank Scenic Loop.  Visitors can follow the signs for the Marble Arch Caves, past the car park for the Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail to Killykeeghan car park.

Sights and sounds

The Arch over the river was formed when the cave roof collapsed.  Therefore, the Marble Arch gets its name from the polished limestone which people used to think was marble. Moreover, as there has been wood goldilocks growing along the glen, this provides evidence that the area was known as old woodland.  If visitors are lucky, they may be able to spot a red squirrel on the rare occasion.  A visitor centre (managed by Fermanagh & Omagh District Council) is available at the Marble Arch Caves, which is open from late March to September with toilets and a cafe available on site.


This mountain looks down on the rolling Marlbank hills with their species rich in calcareous grassland and exposed rocky outcrops of limestone, with patches of hazel scrub.


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Visitors can go for a short walk around the fields which are now managed as part of the nature reserve.  This is where they can take the opportunity to look at the above ground features of limestone compared to the underground features in the caves.

Killykeeghan is an ideal place to visit before or after visiting the Marble Arch Caves or the Cuilcagh Mountain Park. Visitors can also experience other sites close by which include Florence Court House and Forest Park.

The walk commences at the Killykeeghan car park. Here, an interpretative panel provides an overview of the site as well as things to look out for. A wooden gate to the right of the interpretation panel is where the walk begins. Visitors can take the opportunity to walk up the hill to gain the panoramic views of the west Fermanagh landscape. A map also depicts each feature visible on the horizon, including the Cavan Burren and Belmore Mountain.

If you follow the path to McGrath’s cottage, a small, two-roomed dwelling that was refurbished in 2006 and head north on the laneway you will see the area of Crossmurrin ahead. On the right hand side of the laneway, visitors will be able to see the limestone pavement. This rare and threatened environment is important, as Fermanagh contains Northern Ireland’s entire resource of the habitat.

If you turn left off the farm lane and onto a grass pathway, you will be able to get a view of the different habitats which are within this reserve. On the hollows between the grassy knolls of calcareous grassland, peat has grown to a deeper level which has led to form blanket bog. Moreover, there are many specialist plants at this site which include heather, cotton grass and a diverse array of mosses that grow in the wet, peaty soils. If you turn right on the farm lane, an old Early Christian cashel is present, which can be seen as a circular stone feature. 

Glacial erratics are scattered to the right of the path, and are seen as large boulders that have been deposited as a result of glacial action thousands of years ago. The path goes through a field where old cultivation ridges are still visible as this used to be used for subsistence farming many years ago. Hazel scrub has also become a frequent part of this nature reserve.  When visitors exit the woodland on the right hand side adjacent to the road is a Bronze Age Decorated Stone, with distinctive ‘cup and ring’ markings.  This path will then lead you back to the car park and also marks the end of the walk.


This is where a small exhibition of local history of the site is available seasonally.  There are also toilet facilities available and a path through the reserve.  Alternatively they can park in the Marble Arch Caves car park to access Cladagh Glen

Further informarion

The reserve Site manager can be contacted at Castle Archdale Country Park Tel. 02866344803

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