A unique environment

Drumnaph Nature Reserve offers a unique environment that has evolved over the millennia from dense temperate forest and wetlands into a more open patchwork of diverse habitats.  This transition has been brought about by human intervention through low-intensity livestock grazing since the first farmers arrived in Ireland approximately 6,000 years ago.  This low-intensity approach allowed many of the richly diverse habitats in our ancient landscape to find a new home alongside the agricultural practices of our ancestors. 

We are very fortunate that this low-intensity approach to farming has continued on the reserve into modern times and that we have been able to conserve this remnant of our ancient landscape.  The intensification of agricultural land within the wider landscape means that the reserve has become a vitally important part of our ecological heritage that needs to be preserved.  It is a repository of our biodiversity that could one day play an important role in reinstating its rich habitats within a much wider landscape. 

preserve and enhance

Our primary conservation objective is to preserve and enhance the rich levels of biodiversity found here on the Reserve by continuing with this age-old practice of low-intensity seasonal grazing of the various habitats within the reserve by using traditional Irish-moiled cattle.  This will also be supported by direct conservation, ongoing habitat monitoring and continuous evaluation of the effectiveness of our conservation approach. We work in conjunction with several conservation groups including The Woodland Trust, Ulster Wildlife Trust and Butterfly Conservation, with help, guidance and support from the NI Environment Agency.

We have a dedicated team of volunteers who carry out vital conservation work helping to support the variety of habitats and species on the Reserve. We also run conservation training days throughout the year for adults and young people interested in learning new land-based skills such as Dry Stone Walling, Hedgelaying, Coppicing, Invasive Species Removal and Tree Planting. If you are interested in volunteering with us, get in touch and we will keep you updated with upcoming opportunities.