Antrim Coast Road

The dramatic coast road north of Larne is rightly famous for its dramatic cliffs of black basalt and white limestone and is also a great place to discover wildlife. There are car parks and stopping points along the route.

The vegetation associated with maritime cliff and slope habitat includes some rare plants such as rock samphire which is found at Garron and Scots lovage, a Northern Ireland Priority Species which occurs at a few places around the coast on shingle, sand dunes and rocks by the sea. Another rare plant, sea kale, has recently been found on a shingle beach on the Antrim coast. The thin, well drained soils near the coast also have diverse plant assemblages. Near Glenarm, for example, grasslands include wild thyme, eyebright, lady’s bedstraw, fairy flax, common bird’s-foot-trefoil, mouse-ear hawkweed, heath milkwort and harebell.

Cormorant and shag are common on offshore rocks or old piers, the cormorant often standing in a spread-wing posture with extended and slightly drooping wings. Seals, harbour porpoises and dolphin are sometimes spotted near the Antrim coast.