Mourne Plain


Viewpoint: Carrick Little - Grid Ref. J345219

The Mourne Plain runs from the lower slopes of the mountains to the sea like a wide green skirt of silts, sands, gravels and boulders washed down from retreating glaciers.

Key features

• A patchwork of small fields, fertile and well drained. 
• Characteristic, single row stone walls, traditionally built by hand from granite boulders.
• Scattered settlement throughout the landscape, a mixture of traditional, single storey, stone built farmhouses and larger, modern houses built of non-local materials.
• Numerous small streams and rivers cutting through soils and soft sediments to form inaccessible hidden valleys.
• Scattered trees and native woodland confined to river valleys and shelter belts around older farms.
• Legacy of quarrying for stone boulders, sand and gravels along the coast.

Special feature - Stone walls and field boundaries 

The granite boulders which form the iconic stone walls have been cleared from the fields to allow cultivation. Recently grant aid for wall restoration has encouraged the use of machinery using much larger stones. There has also been some removal of traditional stone boundaries to increase field size, allowing the use of larger farm machinery. Lower down the Mourne Plain gorse, blackthorn and hawthorn begin to appear in the field boundaries amongst the stones and form continuous hedgerows closer to the sea. Walls vary throughout the Mourne area depending on local materials. To the south of the Mourne Plain between Mill Bay and Kilkeel the broken up concrete remains of a WWII airstrip form many walls. To the north of the mountains smaller, striped boulders of Silurian rock are used with Slieve Croob granites.

Farmers have reinstated traditional gateways to fields.  Look out for rounded pillars capped with a conical hat, and also in some areas simple posts of worked or unworked granite.


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