Practical advice for enjoying the Mournes

Enjoy Responsibly

Often the best relationship you can have with wildlife is a long-distance relationship!

Keep your distance

Visiting the Mournes ? Then please remember to enjoy responsibly !

Often the best relationship you can have with wildlife is a long-distance one!

Keep a respectful distance from wildlife, especially during nesting seasons. Animals are often timid or fearful around humans. So, observe them from afar to support their well-being and preserve their natural habitat.

If you’re interested in finding out more about your local wildlife, check out  

Keep dogs on a lead

Dogs are naturally curious and love exploring outdoor scents. However, their behaviour can disturb wildlife and unsettle livestock. Even if a dog isn’t aggressive, it can still cause harm ! Many birds nest on the ground, and digging near badger setts poses risks to both badgers and dogs. Enjoy your walk with your furry companion, but ensure they are on a lead and under control to protect livestock and wildlife.

Stick to existing paths and routes

The road less travelled is often “home” to some form of wildlife. Trails, even unofficial ones, offer a way to connect with the landscape while minimizing your impact on the environment. Before venturing off the beaten path, consider the potential impact on nests, warrens, and other creatures that prefer not to be disturbed. Stick to the designated trails, ensuring that wildlife can observe you from a safe distance off the track.

Be aware of nesting seasons and ground nesting birds

It’s easy to forget but many birds in Northern Ireland nest in the ground rather than in the treetops. While this may pose some risks, they are generally safe as long as humans don’t interfere. Skylarks and Curlew are just two examples of birds that nest on the ground so please be mindful when setting out on your adventure.

Please note that disturbing nests is a crime –

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Skylarks nest in the ground

Be mindful of other habitats – badgers/bats/seals

Apart from birds, consider the presence of other animals during your outdoor activities. Seals, for example, might come ashore for a break. Despite their friendly appearance, resist the temptation to get too close. Animals that become accustomed to human contact can jeopardize their survival. It’s advisable to observe and appreciate them from a safe distance.

Common seals love the Northern Irish coast!

Leave all natural places as you find them

Steer clear of disrupting natural spaces as they serve as habitats for numerous species. Even seemingly small actions, like moving a rock, can cause significant disturbance. When exploring our picturesque landscape, we kindly urge you to Leave No Trace, to help us preserve our stunning region and ensuring the natural environment remains undisturbed for others to enjoy.

Take all litter and dog waste home

This is an ongoing issue and yet it is so easily resolved.

Not all outdoor sites have bins.   If you bring it with you, make sure to take it back out! Please take all your litter and dog waste home and dispose of it in an appropriate bin.

Check, Clean and Dry equipment to avoid the spread of invasive species

Find out more here: Check Clean Dry Watersports Advice Ireland ( 

The ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ Campaign’ aims to raise awareness about biosecurity and the impacts of litter. The campaign calls on the public to play their part in protecting Ireland’s waterways. Such actions are essential in protecting the land around us from invasive species.

Report any bad behaviour to wildlife by phoning 101 

If you do see anyone treating wildlife poorly, please call 101 and report the incident. For more information on what wildlife crime consists of, check out How to report a wildlife crime, Northern Ireland, PAW NI (