Our largest nature reserve: Ballynahone Bog is teeming with specialist wildlife and is one of the most important sites for nature conservation in Northern Ireland

Location

Ballynahone Road
Maghera
Co Derry/Londonderry
BT46 5DL

OS Map Reference

H 860 980
A static map of Ballynahone Bog

Know before you go

Size
203 hectares

Entry fee

N/A

Access

No public access. 

Dogs

No dogs permitted

When to visit

Opening times

N/A

Best time to visit

May - September

About the reserve

Ballynahone Bog is the second-largest intact lowland raised bog in the country and is filled full of rare and interesting species of native plants and animals. It is also an important site for wider environmental functions, such as flood regulation and carbon storage.

A variety of peatland plants are found here such as liverworts, sundew, cranberry and sphagnum mosses. Some of the mosses such as Sphaghnum pulchrum are nationally rare and the colony of bog rosemary is one of only six sites in Northern Ireland.

The high bog is surrounded by wet woodland habitat dominated by birch trees. Rare species recorded here include weird and wonderful autumn fungi, such as cinnamon bracket and Johnston’s fairy cup.

In summer, the reserve is buzzing with specialist insects, including butterflies such as large heath and green hairstreak, and moths like common heath and emperor moth. Wet areas support a wide range of dragonflies such as black darter and common hawker, as well as blue-tailed and large red damselfly. Other notable insects include the heather shieldbug, the heather ladybird and green tiger beetle.

Breeding birds include skylark and meadow pipit on the open bog, reed bunting around the edges and willow warbler within the wet woodland. Raptors such as kestrel, buzzard and sparrowhawk are often seen displaying or hunting over the site. In winter, Ballynahone is an important site for wading birds such as snipe, jack snipe and woodcock.

To help ensure the survival of this important site, we have installed hundreds of dams to prevent water loss. We also carry out regular scrub control to prevent colonisation by birch and Scot's pine and remove non-native species such as rhododendron to protect the reserve’s wildlife.

To safeguard Ballynahone's habitats and sensitive wildlife, the nature reserve is not open to the public. 

Contact us

Ulster Wildlife
Contact number: 028 9045 4094

Environmental designation

Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI)
National Nature Reserve (NNR)
Ramsar
Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)