During your visit to the Inishowen Peninsula, you will notice that we have two impressive Loughs; Lough Swilly to the West and Lough Foyle to the East, with the powerful Atlantic Ocean to the North. With this in mind Inishowen is in a great position geographically to support an abundance of wildlife. Of particular importance to wildlife enthusiasts, locals and visitors alike is the stunning Inch Wildfowl Reserve situated on the Eastern shores of Lough Swilly, tucked behind picturesque Inch Island, see below. On location, the lake that you will view is man made, historically there was a large area of Lough Swilly between Inch Island and Burt. But over the years the construction of dykes, embankments and drainage have shaped the geography of this landscape.
Winter Sightings At Inch Wildfowl Reserve, Inishowen
To date the reserve provides a haven for thousands of Winter wildfowl who use the lake and surrounding landscape as a first stop on their migratory journey south for the Winter period. The reserve is considered one of the country’s most important sites for wintering wildfowl as it provides; feeding areas, resting and roosting sites. You may notice during your visit that the marshland and lake are filled with countless birds, see above. Some of the most visible wildlife that you will encounter is species of the elegant Swan. Which include the Mute Swan, the most common swan species in Europe and the Whooper Swan from Iceland. Other examples of birds observed at Inch during this season are Greylag Geese and Wigeon, a colourful duck that travels here from Iceland.
Winter Walks Around Inch Wildfowl Reserve, Inishowen
To ensure you get the most out of your experience there is a pathway that loops around the reserve, see above, called Inch Levels Walks. This 8km loop will provide you with many discovery points to experience nature at its best. The Loop walk, can be accessed by three car parks located at different entry points to the reserve, see below. From each car park you have the option to take in the views and then set off by foot to get closer to the sounds and sights of the surrounding landscape. Viewing points dotted around the loop include; Tooban Hide, Farland Bank Hide and Tready Hide.
Views From Inch Wildfowl Reserve
A top tip is to visit the reserve at dusk where you can see the breathtaking spectacle of birds flocking to the lake. Other impressive sights you can expect to encounter is the majestic An Grianán of Aileach, see above, a circular stone fort that has has dominated the landscape for over 4000 years. Another iconic vision in the landscape is a 16th Century stronghold called Burt Castle, see below.
Whatever time of year you decide to visit, Inch Wildfowl Reserve and its walking route, allows you to embrace the great outdoors and experience the breathtaking sights and sounds of the inhabitants of a diverse and fragile landscape.