Portmore Lough

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If you enjoy walking and wildlife, Portmore Lough is a great day out at any time of year. During the summer the traditional hay meadows alongside the Lough attract a bewildering variety of butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies, while in the winter, greylag geese, whooper swans and thousands of ducks can be seen from the hide on the Lough edge. 

The reserve is also home to a herd of konik ponies, which graze the land and help create perfect conditions for breeding birds like lapwings.

If you’re coming in winter, we recommend wearing strong boots.

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Walk Route

Portmore Lough

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    County Antrim

    Distance 0.6 miles

    OS Map 20

    Terrain Gravel paths and boardwalk

    Nearest Town Aghalee

    Route Shape Linear

    Grid Reference J104687

    Route Type Lakeland

    Route Description

    From the visitor centre, follow the all weather path along the boardwalk to the bird hide. Retrace your steps to the car park and follow the path around the wooded nature area and the wildflower meadow to arrive back at the visitor centre. 

    Point of Interest

    Visitor centre, Portmore Lough, bird hide, wildflower meadow

    Getting to the start

    The reserve is signposted from Aghalee village. From the M1 motorway come off at Junction 9, Moira roundabout, and head up the A26 towards the International Airport and Antrim. Go under the railway bridge and pass the Glenavy Road Service Station on the right. Take the second road on the left. It is signposted Aghalee. This is the Soldierstown Road. Go to Aghalee. From the north, travel towards Moira down the A26 as far as the Soldierstown Road, signposted Aghalee and go to Aghalee. From the Soldierstown Road at Aghalee Village turn left at the T-junction as signposted and head into the village. After a slight bend in the road, before the shops and petrol station turn right into the Ballycairn Road which is signposted Portmore Lough Reserve. Note sometimes the sign becomes bent in the wrong direction by lorries so be careful. Stay on the Ballycairn Road for approx 3 miles until a T-junction. Opposite is the Gawleys Gate Inn. Here turn right and follow this straight road for approx 1 mile until a series of bends. After these bends RSPB Portmore Lough Reserve is signposted to the right, up Georges Island Road. At a sharp left hand bend, at the top of Georges Island Road, turn right up a track beside a white gable wall. This will lead to the entrance of the Reserve

    Public transport

    Translink – journeyplanner.translink.co.uk

    Dog Policy

    Dogs are allowed anywhere. They must be kept under close control at all times. During the bird breeding season, this may mean on a lead. Please check reserve notices for current restrictions. It is essential that you clean up after your dog


    Visitor centre, community room, toilets, car parking, information panels, bird hide The following facilities are available for users with limited mobility: – Disabled parking – Disabled toilets – Visitors Centre

    Accessibility Grade

    Grade 3

    • The path may not be hard and firm in all weathers with loose stones (not bigger than 5cm) with occasional tree roots and pot holes and will be at least 1m wide for its entire length.
    • The path will not be steeper than 6° or have a cross slope of greater than 6°.
    • There will not be any obstacles such as steps or stiles and surface breaks will be between 12mm and 75mm in width.
    • There will be a clear head height of greater than 2.10m for the entire length of the route.
    • There will be passing places at least every 150m and rest areas at least every 1km.