Quoile Pondage Nature Reserve and Countryside Centre

There are opportunities for excellent bird watching both from the riverside path and at the bird hide overlooking the brackish pondage, which was created from the formerly marine estuary in 1957 by the building of a tidal barrage to provide a place for floodwaters to gather until the tide turned and subsequently colonised naturally with grassland, scrub and trees.

In summer, the riverside is a riot of colourful wild roses, willowherb, purple loosestrife and yellowcress. An abundance of wildfowl breed here, including mute swans, mallard, tufted duck and the rarely-seen Gadwall. Wading birds on migration such as black-tailed godwit drop in during spring and autumn and in winter large numbers of wildfowl are abundant. These comprise whooper swans, greylag geese and at least 17 species of duck including wigeon, goldeneye, shoveler, teal, pochard, scaup and shelduck plus occasional rarities such as smew and garganey.

Visitors can find out more about the Quoile Pondage, its history and its wildlife in the attractive stone cottage visitor centre with adjacent nature garden.

Quoile Country Centre is located on the outskirts of Downpatrick, around 22 miles south east of Belfast City centre and is sign posted from the main A7 Belfast to Downpatrick road.

We hope you have an enjoyable positive experience at the Quoile Pondage. You may like to visit our other properties which include Scrabo Country Park, Newtownards and Cloghy Rocks Nature Reserve south of Strangford Village.

If you would like to provide us with your comments, feedback or ideas for improvement please contact us at: nieainfo@daera-ni.gov.uk "
NB. This map is based on the postcode and so may not reflect the exact location.

Opening times:

Welcome to NIEA Country Parks and Nature Reserves

Open to pedestrians 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Car parking at Quoile Pondage is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Visitor centre: 10.00 - 16:00 weekdays and 12:00 noon - 16:00 at weekends to 30th September 2016.
Toilets: Council managed toilets are available at nearby Quoile Road, Car Park.

Toilets are also available to the rear of the Countryside Centre Monday to Friday 10:00 - 16:00 and at weekends 10:00 - 16:00 to 30th September 2016.

Quoile Pondage bird hide - 10:00 - 16:00 daily to 30th September 2016.


Admission free.

The nearest Tourist Information Centre is:

Downpatrick Visitor Information Centre
  • Toilets
  • Picnic Area
  • Open Sundays
  • Open Evenings
  • Open Mondays
  • Parking Available
  • Free (parking charges may apply)
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