Magilligan Point is the tip of one of the largest sand dune systems in the British Isles. The way the coastline constantly changes here is of particular interest and is one of the main reasons the site has been declared a nature reserve. Many metres of sand dune can disappear in a sudden winter storm in what may appear to be severe erosion. However, the cycling of sand around the foreland and out to the Tunns Bank has been going on for centuries.
The dunes have advanced and retreated again many times. In the last 20 years, more than 50 scientific papers have been published about Magilligan and the story is still being unravelled. In summer, many different wild flowers add a splash of colour to the dunes. Harebells and Bird's-foot Trefoil are followed later by Thyme and Pyramidal Orchids. On warm days, butterflies such as the Common Blue or Meadow Brown are plentiful. Also look out for the Six-spot Burnet moth.
For birdwatchers, Magilligan Point offers good views of seabirds using the narrows and in winter, migrating waders and wildfowl.
The Martello Tower located within the Magilligan Nature Reserve was built in the early 1800s, as much for defence against American privateers as against the threat from France. It was equipped with a 24 pounder cannon and a garrison of 13.
No formal paths.
Public telephone number (Northern Nature Reserves): (028) 7035 9977 Ext 87977
Opening times:The Nature Reserve is always open.
A Ministry of Defence (MOD) firing range is adjacent to the nature reserve and visitors should note that access restrictions along the beach can apply. Please read local signs for safety instructions.
Location / Directions
From either Coleraine or Limavady follow road signs for Magilligan Ferry along the Causeway Coastal Route. Drive past the ferry terminal and Martello Tower appears on your left hand side. Approx 16km north of Limavady. Car park at end of public road.
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