Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Island 287 - Horse Island, Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland

Horse Island is a small tidal island off the eastern side of Strangford Lough a mile to the south of the village of Kircubbin.  It is separated from the mainland by a gap of about 50 metres and is about 400 metres wide and long.  There is a seaweed covered rocky causeway most of the way across.  The noticeboard at the small car park warns you not to walk across the mud to the island because it is deep but the causeway isn't very user friendly and you have to pick your way across it carefully.  The island is only cut off from the mainland for about an hour at high tide.  The island is accessible to the public because it is owned by the National Trust.

When I visited in early September 2015 cows were being grazed on the island.  There are no formal paths on the island and I just walked around the edge of it.  I disturbed a curlew and there were a number of plants in flower e.g. sea aster, sea lavender, thistles, sea mayweed, rosebay willowherb, dandelions and birds foot trefoil.  I ate a couple of ripe blackberries off a bush.  There are a few scrubby trees on the island - mainly elder and hawthorn - and some gorse bushes.  I spotted a few samphire plants on the shoreline.

Rocky causeway linking Horse Island to the mainland

Sea asters in flower at Horse Island
 Looking south west down the coast

 If you squint very hard you may be able to see some cows at the far side of this field.

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