Murlough SAC

Status: Designated

Description

Site overview

This site lies on the coast of County Down in Northern Ireland, situated close to Newcastle; it is designated to protect some distinct features found in this area. The fixed dunes here are the largest and most important dune heath site in Northern Ireland. The marsh fritillary butterfly calls these sand dunes home, and this is one of the largest populations in Northern Ireland. 

MPA Type

Special Area of Conservation

Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) are strictly protected sites designated under European legislation. They contribute both to the UK MPA network and set up to protect habitat types and species considered to be most in need of conservation at a European level (excluding birds).

Designation date

1 January 1996

Surface Area

118.96 km2 (45.93 mi.2)

Perimeter

79.96 km (49.69 mi.)

  • Common seal (Phoca vitulina)

    Mammals that feed on fish at sea but regularly haul out on to rocky shores or inter-tidal sandbanks to rest, or to give birth and to suckle their pups. Though called ‘common’ they are actually less numerous than the grey seal, which is the other species f

  • Atlantic salt meadows (Glauco-Puccinellietalia maritimae)

    Areas with specially adapted plants found in the upper reaches of saltmarshes that are not always reached by the tide. The habitat is used for grazing, but is also very important for birds.

  • Intertidal mudflats and sandflats (Mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide)
  • Subtidal sandbanks

    Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time

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