The Murrins 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: H 565783


Set amidst the broad sweep of the Sperrin foothills, the Murrins had their origins in the late glacial period. A retreating ice sheet dammed a lake into which rivers brought vast quantities of sediment. The sediment was then deposited in a series of deltas.

Today, this dry raised fan of material supports a rich heath vegetation dominated by bell heather which is home to the red grouse. Its dry ridges extend out like a delta into a sea of blanket bog, itself only some 4000 years old. Turf-cutters here have unearthed the remains of a bronze-age field network under the bog, established at a time when the climate was different and the growing qualities of soil quickly became exhausted.

Perched among the glacial moraines (rocky debris or till carried along and deposited by a glacier) are several small lakes called kettle-holes, formed from melted blocks of ice abandoned by the retreating ice-sheet. They are the haunt of mallard, teal and the occasional nesting feral grey-lag goose.

Around some of the lakes, green and blue damselflies dart amongst the swampy vegetation which includes the rare broad-leaved mud sedge. This is a place of open vistas, expansive bogland and the ever-present whistling wind, a fitting place for hunting falcons.


None. Visitors are asked to contact the Site manager to arrange access on Tel. 028 6862 1588.

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