Nature Reserves in County Antrim

There are many nature reserves on Forest Service land in County Antrim.

Breen Oakwood (National Nature Reserve)

The wood is a rare example of mature oakwood on Dalradian soils and is representative of the type of woodland thought to have covered NE Antrim in former times. Predominant tree species are sessile oak, birch and rowan. There is a dense ground cover of woodrush Luzula and bracken. The humidity of the site is reflected in the rich variety of fern, moss and lichen epiphytes

Map reference: D 124337, 4 miles South of Ballycastle
Hectares: 21
Relict mature oakwood
Access by farm lane from public road to north
Spring and summer

Garry Bog (National Nature Reserve)

The reserve is a small representative section of a much larger low lying raised bog. The vegetation is typical of a very wet acid habitat. Various Sphagnum spp are present, sundew Drosera routundifolia and bog asphodel, Narcethium ossifragum are common. The cranberry Vaccinium oxycoccus is a particular feature of the reserve

Map reference: C938298, 2 miles N of Ballymoney
Hectares: 6.5
Raised bog
Access from public road to west
All Year

Glenariff Glen (National Nature Reserve)

The reserve is situated within the most famous of the Nine Glens of Antrim. The deep gorge and a succession of spectacular waterfalls provide optimum conditions for the growth of a rich bryophyte community.

Map reference: D210205, 3 mls SW of Waterfoot
Hectares: 10
Rich bryophytes in gorge with waterfalls
Access by path from Forest Park
All year

Glenariff Lakes (Forest Nature Reserve)

The reserve comprises three small mountain lakes, Evish Lough, Loughnaweelan and Loughaniroona and their associated shoreline vegetation. Sedges, Carex spp, are common and the rare C. pauciflora has been recorded. An extensive flat area beside Evish Lough contains large expanses of cranberry, Vaccinium oxycoccus.
Mallard, Teal and redshank use the area during the nesting season. Tufted duck and pochard are present in winter

Map reference: D195188, 4 mls SW of Waterfoot
Hectares: 12
Acid lakes, vegetation, wildfowl
Access across country from public road to the north west
All year

Randalstown (National Nature Reserve)

Randalstown Forest is a small nature reserve on the north shore of Lough Neagh. The shoreline here is part of a much larger wildfowl refuge that extends from the Sixmilewater River in the east to Blackrock Bay in the west.

The area is not typical of most of the Lough Neagh shoreline as it is not grazed by cattle and is therefore heavily wooded. Parts of the wood are dry with ash, hawthorn and blackthorn but other parts are very wet with alder and willow trees.

Rea's Wood (National Nature Reserve)

The reserve forms one of the largest unspoilt areas of natural woodlands developing on land resulting from periodical lowerings of Lough Neagh during the past fifty years. There is a rich and varied ground flora, succeeded by sapling growth of willow and alder. Several very rare invertebrates have been recorded.

Map reference: J1543855, 1 mile SW of Antrim
Hectares: 26.5
Scrub woodland and fen
Access via numerous paths from behind hotel
Spring and summer

Slieveanorra (National Nature Reserve)

The reserve consists of three portions all concerned with peat development, erosion and regeneration. The first site on the summit of the mountain displays severe peat erosion and recolonisation of bare areas, the clubmoss Lycopodium alpinum occurs. The second site displays an interesting system of natural erosion channels in blanket bog. The third and lowest site provides a good example of Sphagnum hummocks and regeneration pools and is very rich in Sphagnum and Carex species.

Map reference: D134267; D145272; D154280, 8 miles SW of Cushendun
Hectares: 49
Peat erosion, pool and hummock bog
Access direct from public road and via forest road to summit of Slieveanorra

Slieveanorra Moor (Forest Nature Reserve)

The reserve is unplanted upland moor surrounded by an extensive coniferous forest. The red grouse is a declining species in Ireland and management of the reserve is aimed at increasing and perpetuating the grouse population. The moor encompasses the Slieveanora National Nature Reserve.

Map reference: D149265, 8 mls SW of Cushendun
Hectares: 225
Red grouse conservation
No dogs permitted, access on foot via forest road
All year

Tardree (Forest Nature Reserve)

This very small reserve consists of an old disused quarry which exposes the acid igneous rock rhyolite, known locally as 'Tardree Stone'. This is one of the few exposures of this rock in the country. Previously worked faces and boulders have been provided so that samples can be conveniently taken. The car park is within the quarry a ¼ mile from the public road.

Map reference: J191948, 7 mls SE of Ballymena
Hectares: 0.2
Access from car park
All year

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