Protected area type: Areas of Special Scientific Interest
Feature type: 
  • Habitat
  • Marine
  • Down
Council: Ards and North Down
Guidance and literature: Ballymacormick Point ASSI

Ballymacormick Point is a rocky headland with a series of small sandy bays and mudflats.

The area contains an unusually wide range of coastal vegetation communities, including saltmarsh and maritime grassland and heath. It contains several plant species with a restricted distribution in Northern Ireland, including salt-marsh flat sedge. Several locally rare communities and species are present, including the sea purslane saltmarsh which occurs at its northern limit in Ireland. There are some fine transitions from saltmarsh to non-tidal fen and flush vegetation.

Intertidal communities are also notable, with the many rock-pools at different shore levels giving rise to an exceptional diversity of algal species, making this site one of the richest for marine algae in NI. Of particular note is percursaria percursa which is an unusual saltmarsh alga. Marine invertebrates are also important and include the cushion-star representing the most northerly record of this species in NI, edible sea-urchin and the burrowing sea-anemone daisy anemone.

Rare terrestrial invertebrates include true flies, Nemotelus, the true bug Orthotylus flavosparsus, the beetle Aepus robinii and the snails Leucophytia bidentata and Otina ovata. In addition, Ballymacormick Point is the only known site in Ireland for the Heteropteran bug, (Conostethus brevis).

The site includes Cockle Island which is important for its breeding colony of Arctic tern. Other birds found here include turnstone, ringed plover, curlew, oystercatcher, red-breasted merganser, sandwich tern, shag, purple sandpiper and stonechat. It should be noted that the area forms part of the Outer Ards SPA.  

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