Lough Neagh is the biggest lake in Ireland and Britain and is an internationally important wetland and a unique landscape. It is a special place for wildlife with an impressive variety of nature reserves and other sites where you can experience its natural beauty. There are fens, reedbeds, wet woodlands, bogs, wet meadows, rivers, and lakes all waiting to be discovered and a vast array of biodiversity suchas Irish Lady's tresses orchids, common terns, Irish hares, whooper swams and thousands of wintering ducks and geese.
Designations: In order to protect the environment and wildlife of the area a number of designations have been applied to Lough Neagh and the lands immediately surrounding it
Ramsar Site: Designated by the UK Government under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially for wildfowl. Signed at Ramsar in Iran in 1971, Lough Neagh was the first Ramsar site declared in Northern Ireland in 1976. If any part of a Ramsar site is damaged it must be replaced by designation of equivalent habitat
Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI): These are areas of land, or land covered by water which have been declared by the Environment and Heritage Service, Department of the Environment (NI), (now Northern Ireland Environment Agency) as being of special interest for their flora, fauna or geological or physiographical features under the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (NI) Order 1985 (amended 1989). ASSI's in the Lough Neagh area include Lough Neagh, Lough Beg, Portmore Lough, Culnafany, Toome, Peatlands Park and Montiaghs Moss
Special Protection Areas for Birds (SPA's): These are designated by the UK Government under the European Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds 1979. The Lough Neagh, Lough Beg and Portmore Lough SPA covers the same area as that of the ASSI's.
National Nature Reserves: These are nationally important wildlife sites managed specifically to conserve the natural heritage and where possible provide opportunities for public access, education and research. Around Lough Neagh there are National Nature Reserves at Lough Beg, Randalstown Forest, Rea's Wood, Oxford Island, Lough Neagh Island, Mullinakill and Anagarrif Woods and Farr's Bay.
The Conservation Service of Craigavon Borough Council is based at the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, Oxford Island.
Contact: Conservation Officer
Tel: 028 3831 1672