Enjoy Responsibly

Practical advice for enjoying the Ring of Gullion

Keep your distance

Visiting the Ring of Gullion? Then please remember to enjoy responsibly!

Often the best relationship you can have with wildlife is a long-distance one!

Wildlife is typically very timid (if not afraid) when it comes to having humans in their habitat, particularly during nesting seasons. Keep your distance and give them some space; you can look from a distance but the best way to support wildlife is not to disturb them. If you’re interested in finding out more about your local wildlife, check out  

Keep dogs on a lead

Dogs are curious creatures and just want to investigate all those new smells in the outdoors. However, being too enthusiastic can disturb wildlife or upset livestock. Just because a dog doesn’t attack doesn’t mean it’s not doing any harm. Not all birds nest in the safety of tall trees, and badger setts may look like a fun place to dig for your pup, but this could really put the badger’s (and the dog’s) health at risk. Enjoy your walk with your four legged friend, but please keep them on a lead and under control! 

Stick to existing paths and routes

The road less travelled is often “home” to some form of wildlife. Trails, although not always official, allow you to connect with the landscape whilst minimising your impact on the wider area. If you think you can go “off-piste”, think twice before doing so as you could be walking across nests, warrens or other creatures that wish not to be disturbed. Stick to the trails and know that the wildlife can watch you go past knowing that they’re safe off the track. 

Be aware of nesting seasons and ground nesting birds

It’s easy to forget but many birds in Northern Ireland nest in the ground rather than high up in the trees. This can be dangerous but they’re mostly safe as long as humans don’t interfere. Skylarks and Curlew are just two examples of birds that nest on the ground so please be mindful when setting out on your adventure.

Please note that disturbing nests is a crime –

If you’d like to find out more, head to

Skylarks nest in the ground

Be mindful of other habitats – badgers/bats/seals

Other than birds, it is important to think about other animals that you might encounter. For example, it’s not unusual for a squirrel to pop onto the path infront of you. Please resist the urge to get close. It might seem friendly but animals that become tame through this kind of contact can put their survival at risk. It’s best to watch and appreciate from a safe distance.   

Red Squirrels love the Ring of Gullion!

Leave all natural places as you find them

This one is simple but shouldn’t be dismissed. It’s important to avoid disturbing natural places as they provide a habitat for many species. It is surprising how much disturbance can be caused by a simple action such as moving a rock. 

Take all litter and dog waste home

This is an ongoing issue and yet it is so easily resolved, through responsible behaviour. Not all outdoor sites have bins.  If you can pack it in, you can pack it out again ! Please take all your litter and dog waste home and dispose of it in an appropriate bin.

Check, Clean and Dry equipment to avoid the spread of invasive species

Find out more here: Check Clean Dry Watersports Advice Ireland ( 

The ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ Campaign’ aims to raise awareness about biosecurity and the impacts of litter. The campaign calls on the public to play their part in protecting Ireland’s waterways. Such actions are essential in protecting the land around us from invasive species.

Report any bad behaviour to wildlife by phoning 101 

If you do see anyone treating wildlife poorly, please call 101 and report the incident. For more information on what wildlife crime consists of, check out How to report a wildlife crime, Northern Ireland, PAW NI ( 

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