Umbra-Magilligan Sand Dune System - Ulster WT
the Umbra can now provide the nucleus for species to re-colonise the whole sand dune system
A stunning coastal location, Ulster Wildlife Trust’s 45-hectare Umbra reserve is the best example of dune and grassland slack habitat in the Magilligan dune system. Situated 8 miles north-west of Coleraine, the Umbra’s unique habitats are of special conservation value with many distinctive species, making it a real gem.
Vital management practices have been in place since 1979 which require ongoing work to ensure that habitats are in a favourable condition.
With a landscape-scale approach to managing the whole sand dune system, the Umbra can now provide the nucleus for species to re-colonise the rest of the Magilligan system, covering 1,069 hectares.
Virtual tour by Mike McFarlane
The reserve has been successfully managed under the Management of Sensitive Sites (MOSS) scheme since 2003 through winter grazing, scrub control and mowing of the dune slacks.
The sand dunes are a major tourist destination and by offering the facility for leisure and recreational activities they also bring economic benefits to the local community.
The dunes act as a natural coastal defence, which is much more cost-effective than hard engineering alternatives.
This scheme is helping species including Marsh helleborine, bee orchid, pyramidal orchid, fragrant orchid, frog orchid, northern mining bee, small eggar moth, scarce crimson and gold moth
Current threats to the landscape: Invasive species and scrub encroachment
- This scheme is also reducing flood risk, reducing soil erosion, improving access for people, providing recreational opportunities, encouraging green tourism