The Drumlin Landscape

Viewpoint: Windy Gap Car Park - Grid Ref. J274430

A stunning panorama when seen from Slievenaboley Mountain in the Slieve Croob highlands, showing three major landforms: the high Mournes; the older Slieve Croob granites; and fertile soils of the drumlins.

Key Features:

• Strong geometric field pattern of medium-sized pastures reinforced by stone walls, often forming ‘spines’ along the top of the drumlins.
• Patches of gorse and stands of wind-sculpted pines and larch forming shelter belts around farms, both derelict and inhabited.
• Small farms and traditional stone cottages, more concentrated along the river valleys and roads.
• Roads form strong lines in the landscape, often running parallel to rivers in the valleys.
• Numerous archaeological sites, such as nearby Binders Cove. 

Special Features of the Mourne Foothills - Drumlins

The Drumlins in the foreground are part of a corrugated crescent of glacial debris. This was pushed up against Slieve Croob and the Mournes by southward moving ice, some 13,000 years ago.  This carpet of debris (till) was later carved by an ice sheet flowing from Lough Neagh to form an extensive drumlin field that resembles a ‘basket of eggs’. As can be seen from an Ordnance Survey map, the alignment of the drumlins follows a curve around the mountains, because the ice that formed them was diverted by the mountains both towards Newry and towards Dundrum Bay. You will also see that the drumlins are all of a similar height.

These drumlins may have a rock core but are mostly piles of glacial till, which weathers to deep, moderately fertile soils. These produce better farmland than is found on the thin soils of the rocky hills. The surface of the drumlins is free draining, but the low ground between collects water.  In these hollows small lakes and marshes developed, which eventually may have become filled with peat. The peat has long since been stripped for fuel, but some small wildlife rich hollows still remain.

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