Dragons on the hills

Connecting communities in Mourne, Gullion and Strangford and Lecale with their natural heritage, and conserving amphibians and reptiles.

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. 

“Adders are Amazing” project

Following on from the success of ARG UK’s ‘Adders are Amazing’ project,  a creative approach to conservation was taken, using arts, crafts, music and story-telling to bind the world of myth and legend with the natural world, and allowing our dragons to take us on a journey of wonder and magic. By encouraging local communities and landowners to cherish their natural heritage and to develop a new respect and understanding for their amphibians and reptiles, we hope they will become wildlife champions.

Frogs are spawning, newts are on the move, and common lizards are basking – if you want to join in with Dragons in the Hills then drop your sightings in our Record Pool on ‘Whats in your pond?

Dragons in the Hills was a partnership project with ARG UK, Newry Mourne and Down District Council  and The Herpetological Society of Ireland generously supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

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