Dragons on the hills
Dragons in the Hills was awarded £100,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, to find out more about Northern Ireland’s own little dragons – our three native amphibians and reptiles: common frog, common lizard and smooth newt. Although two of these are designated Northern Ireland priority species based on reported widespread declines, little was known of their abundance and distribution, or how they are faring in today’s fast-changing world. The project aimed to improve knowledge of the conservation status of the amphibians and reptiles in the Mourne Gullion Strangford UNESCO Global Geopark by mapping their distribution and by encouraging land managers to create and connect important habitat features, increasing the area suitable for them.
Dragons in the Hills worked closely with the communities living in this ancient landscape including the volcanic Ring of Gullion, the atmospheric Mourne Mountains and the beautiful Strangford and Lecale AONBs. It reconnected the local people of Mourne Gullion Strangford UNESCO Global Geopark with their rich historic and natural heritage by offering them the opportunity to explore the ‘small places’ : looking out for jelly-like frog spawn, masses of shoaling tadpoles, the whisk of a lizard’s tail or the glory of our little amphibious dragons, effortlessly sculling through their watery world.