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Causeway Coast AONB

Last updated: 19 January 2010


Date of designation: 1989


Area: 4,213 ha


The Causeway Coast, particularly the Giant's Causeway itself, must be the Province's most renowned area internationally and boasts the only World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland. It is a place of extraordinary beauty encompassing 18 miles of spectacular coastal scenery with dramatic cliffs and headlands broken by the wide sweep of fresh sandy beaches backed by dunes. Dark volcanic rocks and brilliant white chalk, eroded by the vigorous North Atlantic, form magnificent geological features including the renowned Giant's Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede.

View of Chimney Tops at Giants Causeway

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This natural beauty is made all the more impressive by the small harbours, fisheries and farms delicately poised on the storm-torn coastline. A rich and fascinating variety of wildlife thrives on the offshore islands and rocks, amid the cliffs and sand dunes, and within the farmed countryside.

Above the sea, in abrupt contrast, the land is intensively farmed up to the very cliff top. The few trees that survive the battering by salt winds are huddled in sheltered hollows.

Buildings are prominent in this open landscape with good examples of clachans (groups of single storey houses) and isolated nineteenth century farm houses surrounded by barns and outbuildings.

Further information on the AONB can be obtained from the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage TrustOpens in New window website.

Causeway Coast AONB Management Plan

A Management Plan has been produced for the Causeway Coast AONB and the implementation of this is being overseen by the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust. A revised Action Plan is scheduled to be produced in 2010.

The EHS Summary Management Plan for the Causeway Coast AONB(.PDF 248Kb)Opens in New window

Giant Steps from Portstewart to Ballycastle

The Department of Environment (DOE) published 'A Companion to the Causeway Coast Way' by local author Philip Watson in conjunction with Blackstaff Press Ltd. This book is an excellent resource for anyone walking, driving or just reading at home. It gives details of the Causeway Coast Way, one of eight Waymarked Ways within Northern Ireland, promoted by the Countryside Access and Activities NetworkOpens in New window

It is a comprehensive and very readable guide to the natural and cultural heritage of the coastline between Portstewart and Ballycastle - much of it located within the Causeway Coast AONB. The book can be purchased through leading book shops.

map of Causeway Coast AONB © Crown copyright and database rights OSNI EMOU206.2