The National Trust is inviting everyone to get outdoors, enjoy and celebrate our wonderful coastline to mark the 50th anniversary of their Neptune Coastline Campaign.
The conservation charity owns and cares for over 100 miles (22%) of the Northern Ireland coastline, providing habitats for wildlife and access to beaches, dunes and coastal paths for the serious rambler and those who just want to take a short stroll.
Phil Davidson, National Trust Wildlife and Countryside Adviser said:
“The Neptune Campaign is our longest running appeal, raising funds to help us acquire and look after over 775 miles of coastline in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“Thanks to our supporters we have acquired local and internationally renowned coastal sites, such as Carrick-a-Rede, Giant’s Causeway World Heritage Site, Strangford Lough (Northern Ireland’s first Marine Conservation Zone) and Murlough National Nature Reserve.
“It is now a huge responsibility for us to manage these coastal landscapes and we will continue to need the support of our members, volunteers and supporters in 2015 and beyond as we look ahead to the next fifty years.”
Encouraging everyone to enjoy Northern Ireland’s coastal landscape Phil added:
“Throughout 2015 we will be running a series of special coastal events from bio-blitz’s at Murlough National Nature Reserve and White Park Bay to sea safaris on Strangford Lough and even a whale watch at Portmuck. We’re also hosting a coastal art exhibition at Castle Ward.
“Enjoy the great outdoors this summer and explore our incredible coastline, with wind swept walks on miles of coastal paths, summer picnics amongst the sand dunes, rock pooling along the shore and surfing for the more energetic.”
National Trust membership helps the conservation charity protect our beautiful coastal landscape, a coast that’s alive with reminders of our island heritage, to inspire and refresh generations of people.
For details of coastal events, more information on the work of the National Trust or how to become a member visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ni
Here’s 3 of the charities top coastal places to visit this summer
Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim
You can follow in the legendary footsteps of giants at Northern Ireland’s iconic World Heritage Site. The famous basalt stone columns are great for exploring and are home to more than Finn McCool. Its nooks and crannies are dotted with wild flowers, and the cliff scenery is great for bird watching. The interactive exhibition in the Visitor Centre and innovative audio-guides unlock the secrets of the landscape.
Carrick a Rede, County Antrim
Jutting out from the rugged North Antrim Coast Road, this 30 metre-deep and 20 metre-wide chasm separating Carrick-a-Rede from the mainland is traversed by a rope bridge that was traditionally erected by salmon fishermen. If you are bold enough to make the crossing, there is unique geology, wildlife and cliff top bird watching.
Portstewart Strand, County Londonderry
Sweeping along the edge of the North Coast, this two-mile stretch of golden sand is an ideal place for lazy picnics, surfing and long walks into the sand dunes where wild flowers and butterflies dance in the breeze. Nearby the Bann Estuary is a sanctuary for waterfowl and wading birds like curlew and redshank. A hide on the west side of the River Bann is a great place to watch the birds.