Protected area type: Ramsar Sites
Feature type: 
  • Species
  • Marine
  • Down
Council: Ards and North Down
Guidance and literature: Outer Ards RAMSAR

The Outer Ards site extends from Grey Point on the north Down coast, to Ballyquintin Point in the south. The site mainly encompasses the intertidal areas, but with some additional adjoining areas of notable habitat. It includes sand and mud dominated shores, cobble and boulder beaches together with rocky shores. Offshore islands are also present.

Adjoining habitat includes areas of dune and maritime grassland, maritime heath and cliff ledge vegetation, saltmarsh, tidal and non-tidal fens and wet flushes. Some areas still display the natural transition from maritime to terrestrial vegetation, where a number of notable communities occur. At least 17 rare or local plant species have been recorded across the range of habitats within the area.

The boundary of the Ramsar site is entirely coincident with the Outer Ards Area of Special Scientific Interest together with the Ballymacormick Point ASSI. This site has been selected for designation as a Ramsar site because of its important breeding and wintering populations of waterfowl. The principal interests are the wintering populations of light-bellied brent goose, golden plover, turnstone and ringed plover.

The Outer Ards is a Wetland of International Importance because it qualifies under Criterion 6 for regularly supporting 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterbird in any season. 

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