Ards Forest Park

Ards Forest Park expands over an area of 480 hectares, and so encompasses many diverse habitats. Salt marshes, beaches, sand dunes, woodlands, salt water lakes and rock faces are all found within the park’s boundaries. There are a number of trails through the park from which all visitors can view these habitats and the large variety of wildlife that lives there.

Orchids, blackberries, rhododendrons, hazel and a variety of brambles are some of the flora that inhabits the area. White and yellow water lilies adorn the small fen area that has developed along the edge of Lough Lilly. There are both deciduous and coniferous woodlands in the park, which include varieties of trees such as oak, ash, pine, rowan and birch.

A huge variety of animals make this unspoiled park their home. The fox, badger, stoat, red squirrel, hedgehog and many more can be seen rambling through the woodlands.

Ards Forest Park attracts many ornithologists, as the salt marshes are a very important wintering ground for birds. The salt marsh area is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) in order to protect the wildlife.

Historical interest

Ards Forest ’s beautiful park was once the estate of the Stewart family, until it was broken up by the Irish Land Commission in 1926.

The remains of four ring forts, a holy well and a mass rock are also located within the park. 

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