Given that Northern Ireland is a relatively small region, it is quite incredible to learn that it has no less than 8 different Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty [AONB].
Take a look below and find out a little more about each one…
Northern Ireland’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
#01 The Causeway Coast
Northern Ireland’s North Coast and particularly the area around the Giant’s Causeway is probably the best known of all the AONBs here. Take a tour of the dramatic coastline and marvel at the truly breath-taking scenery which includes Carrick-a-rede rope bridge and some of the best beaches in the UK.
Just along the coast towards Donegal you’ll find Binevenagh. This AONB takes in the landscape between the Roe Estuary and Magilligan as well as the cliffs of Binevenagh and the renowned Portstewart sand dunes. A great way to see this is from the Coleraine to Derry train, one of the UK’s most scenic railway routes.
#03 The Sperrin Mountains
Set in central Northern Ireland stretching down from Derry/Londonderry to County Omagh, the Sperrin Mountains is a vast area of moorlands, glens and lush green valleys. A wonderful area for walking and cycling in particular, with the world class Davagh Forest trail drawing people from far and wide.
#04 Antrim Coast & Glens
Next door to the Causeway Coast you’ll find a further beautiful stretch of coastline taking you all the way down to the port town of Larne. Not only are there some gorgeous seaside towns and beaches here, it is flanked by beautiful forest land inland with Glenariff Forest Park being the best known. Learn more about the Antrim Coast & Glens here.
#05 Lagan Valley
This AONB in Northern Ireland is set close to Belfast and covers the course of the River Lagan. Most of it now lies within the Lagan Valley National Park. Expect scenic riverside landscapes, meadows and woods to wander around.
#06 Strangford & Lecale
Taking in Strangford Lough, the largest inlet in the British Isles and Northern Ireland’s first marine nature reserve, this AONB stretches down to the brooding Mourne Mountains to the south and is internally renowned for it’s marine, plant and wildlife. There are also lots of stately homes and fabulous gardens to visit and a real wealth of outdoor activities to enjoy in this area.
#07 Mourne Mountains
Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea, as the famous song heralds, this truly stunning landscape is dominated by Slieve Donard and the other 12 peaks of the Mourne Mountains. Moody and magnificent, this amazing mountain range also enjoys a fantastic coastline with sweeping sandy beaches.
#08 Ring of Gullion
Designated an AONB in 1991, the Ring of Gullion covers an area of 15,329 hectares and is regarded as the best example of a ring dyke in the British Isles. People have lived here for over 6,000 years, and this sense of history and culture is still very much in evidence today. A land of myths and magic…
Which of Northern Ireland’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty appeal to you the most? With almost one for every month of the year you are spoilt for choice!