Murlough Nature ReserveWithin a few minutes walk from Dundrum is Murlough Nature Reserve. Murlough Nature Reserve is owned and managed by the National Trust and in 1967 was designated Ireland's first Nature Reserve. This 6,000 year old sand dune system is an excellent location for both walking and bird watching.
A series of boardwalks cross Murlough Nature Reserve, making it readily accessible for most, although the nature of sand dunes means that there are a number of relatively steep inclines and declines to manage. As Murlough Nature Reserve also provides grazing for a variety of animals including ponies and cattle, there are a number of cattle-grids and gates that need to be passed through.
The boardwalks also offer a number of access points to one of the finest beaches in County Down. The beach stretches from the outlet of Dundrum Bay all the way into Newcastle, roughly 5 miles in total. The beach is very tidal and ranges from 20 feet of pebbles at high tide to several hundred yards of sand at low-tide. Offering views of the Mourne mountains to the south, the beach can be a stunning setting for a walk.
Murlough Nature Reserve can be reached from a number of entry points. At the south side of Dundrum Village, Keel Point leads to a small free car park just outside the National Trust boundary. If this small car park is full it is normally possible to park on the layby on the main street and then walk down Keel Point. For members of the National Trust who have purchased an access key it is possible to follow the road into the trust area and pass through the control gate leading to a much larger parking area immediately before the start of the boardwalk.
Continuing south past the end of Dundrum Village the inner bay is on the left and, past the end of this, is a further entrance to the boardwalk. Parking can be found either at the side of the road or in a car park on the opposite side of the road. Past this entrance, on the left, is a National Trust car park with direct access to the boardwalks at the rear.