Outer Ards

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Outer Ards

  • Country: 
    United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    1,154 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    54°32'N 05°31'W
Materials presented on this website, particularly maps and territorial information, are as-is and as-available based on available data and do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.


The Site, which contains about 8% of the Northern Irish coastline and has a very high proportion of offshore reefs and islands, mainly encompasses intertidal areas with some other notable habitats. It includes sand- and mud-dominated shores, cobble and boulder beaches together with rocky shores. Adjoining habitats include areas of dune and maritime grassland, maritime heath and cliff ledge vegetation, saltmarsh, tidal and non-tidal fens and wet flushes. Some areas still display the natural transition from maritime to terrestrial vegetation and host a number of notable communities. At least 17 rare or local plant species have been recorded across the range of habitats within the area. The Outer Ards is especially important for the breeding colony of Arctic tern Sterna paradisaea, together with the wintering populations of light-bellied Brent goose Branta bernicla hrota, European golden plover Pluvialis apricaria, ruddy turnstone Arenaria interpres and ringed plover Charadrius hiaticula. Nationally important populations of 11 other species of bird have also been recorded within the Site.

Administrative region: 
County Down, Northern Ireland

  • National legal designation: 
    • Area of Outstanding National Beauty (AONB)
    • National Nature Reserve (NNR)
    • Site/ Area of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI/ASSI)
  • Regional (international) legal designations: 
    • EU Natura 2000
  • Last publication date: 


Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS)