Magilligan, extending from the tip of Lough Foyle’s eastern shore, is the gateway to a spectacular 11-kilometre stretch of Atlantic coastline that includes the magnificent Benone and Downhill beaches. The peninsula is renowned as an area of conservational and historical significance.
Visitors can view its Martello tower, built in 1812 during the Napoleanic wars. It stands guard over Lough Foyle at Magilligan Point, an area hosting one of the most significant dune systems in the British Isles. The turning sands and constantly shifting coastline have generated much scientific interest and contributed to the site being declared a nature reserve. There are no formal paths here but a short walk through the reserve provides opportunities for exploring the beach and viewing its bird- and sea life. In winter, migrating waders and wildfowl may be observed.
The dunes behind the beach have a variety of uses and ownership, with the Ministry of Defence using land close to Magilligan Point as a firing range. The fragility of the environment means that access to some of the dunes may be limited although towards Benone, their use becomes more recreational.
The Scenic Lough Foyle Ferry sails daily (May – Sept) between Magilligan Point and Greencastle, connecting the Causeway Coast and Donegal’s beautiful Inishowen Peninsula.
Magilligan Nature Reserve is always open and is free. Toilets and parking are available at the ferry terminal.