High Mourne Mountains


Viewpoint: Moneyscalp Wood Car Park  - Grid Ref. J322323

The rounded, rocky Mournes are twelve peaks grouped closely together dominating the skyline of the Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Key features

• Dramatic peaks of Mourne granite with steep sides, rounded tops or craggy tors.
• Ice gouged ‘U' shaped valleys such as the Trassey River, created by Mourne Glaciers over 12,000 years ago.
• No settlement on high slopes, only grazing for sheep amongst the rough grass and heather. 
• Conifer woodlands planted on poorer upland slopes and in old estates.
• A sharp contrast to the rich farmland of the lowlands, such as the wide Shimna Valley on deep material dumped by melting ice, with enclosed fields and scattered settlements.

Special feature - Water extraction in the Mourne catchment

The mountains collect vast amounts of water, receiving some of the highest rainfall in Northern Ireland. In the last century several of the great valleys were dammed to create vast reservoirs which now provide fresh water for many hundreds of thousands of homes across Northern Ireland.

The water catchment of the inner Mournes is bounded by the Mourne Wall, two metres high and built by hand from dressed granite over 18 years in the early 1900s. The wall follows the main peaks of the Mournes with many of the summits, such as Meelmore, being capped with a stone built shelter hut.  

The Mourne wall comes to road level at Silent Valley where you can also find more information on the Mourne catchment.


Landscape landscapes Other Landscapes
  1. High Mourne Mountains
  2. Mourne Plain
  3. Slieve Roosley
  4. Slieve Croob
  5. The Drumlin Landscape
  6. Mourne Coast