Places To Visit - Coast & Countryside

Experience the coastal heath of the Ayres in the north, bird-lined cliffs of the Chasms and the Calf of Man in the south, wildflowers and other wildlife across the Island’s hills, moorland, wooded glens, waterfalls, rolling farmland and coastal plains.

Sites in the North

  • Ayres National Nature Reserve – Point of Ayre to Smeale and Rue Point
  • Medieval carved stone crosses at the parish churches of Andreas, Bride, Jurby and Maughold
  • Remains of a small upland farm at Killabrega in Sulby
  • Iron Age fortress of Cronk Sumark near Sulby village
  • Wetlands at Ballaugh Curragh, a RAMSAR wetland of international importance
  • Neolithic chambered tombs at Cashtal yn Ard and Ballafayle
  • Coastal footpath around Maughold Head and Gob ny Rona
  • The Dhoon Broogh
AyresSunset-1

Sites in the South

  • Fort and Viking burial site of Balladoole
  • Monks’ Bridge in Silverdale Glen
  • Meayll Circle, a Neolithic tomb
  • St Michael’s Isle, steeped in 8000 years of history
  • Calf of Man – A bird observatory and wildlife haven off the southern tip of the Island. Book a stay here and escape the world!
  • The Chasms
  • Spanish and Cregneash Farm trail
BALLADOOLE

Sites in the East

  • King Orry’s Grave, a pair of Neolithic tombs in Laxey
  • Carved stone crosses at the parish churches of Old Kirk Lonan, Old Kirk Braddan and Onchan
  • Coastal walk along Marine Drive from Douglas Head. Spot basking sharks in the early summer
  • Iron Age roundhouse and two Norse buildings at the Braaid
  • Snaefell – the Islands most famous mountain.  Take the Snaefell Mountain railway from Laxey.  Enjoy tea and views from the summit.
KingOrrysGrave-11

Sites in the West

  • Ruined upland farm of Upper Ballaharry
  • Public footpaths lead to the slopes of Greeba Mountain and Slieau Ruy
  • Carved stone crosses at Kirk Michael parish church.
  • Climb to the summit of Cronk ny Arrey Laa for spectacular views
  • Ruined medieval chapel and waterfall at Spooyt Vane
  • Climb to the summit of South Barrule and discover a 3000 year old village and hilltop fortress
  • Coastal walk from Eary Cushlin to the medieval chapel at Lag ny Keeilley
Keill, Spooyt Vane Keeill

Manx National Heritage Trust Land Walks

The following lands are cared for by Manx National Heritage and are open to the public for rambling:

  • Spanish Head and the Chasms area
  • Maughold Head and BrooghS
  • Gob ny Rona, Port-e-Vullen
  • the Curraghs
  • Ballakesh and Ballakeyl Ayres
  • the Dhoon Brooghs
  • St Michael’s Isle
  • the Calf of Man and Kitterland
  • Eary Cushlin
  • Creggan Mooar Broogh
spanishheadnorth001

Lower Silverdale

Lower Silverdale Glen is a pleasant woodland walk from the medieval Monks Bridge in Ballasalla near Rushen Abbey, to the old Creg Mill.  This Manx glen has Victorian tree and pleasure garden plantings as well as wild woodland flowers like Bluebells, Wood Sorrel and Primroses.

View 360 degree images

S&M-LSilvDale01.tif

Eary Cushlin and Creggan Mooar

Take the footpath from Old Eary Cushlin farm (now used as an outdoor activity centre) to the ancient Keeill (chapel) at Lag ny Keeilley. You will come across open heathland, sheep-grazed grassland, bracken-covered steep ‘brooghs’ (slopes) and wet flushes.  Look out for some unusual plants such as the parasitic Sundew, and heath-loving insects such as Tiger Beetles and Dark-green Fritillary butterflies. The path to the keeill passes the old Chibbyr ny Vashtey (Well of Baptism).

Eary Cushlin

Upper Ballaharry

The public footpath from the Lance Ussher Memorial Reserve at Ballaharry routes to the eastern slopes of Greeba Mountain and Slieau Ruy. The views to the south and east from this land are stunning.  Only from here will you see Keeill Vreeshey, an early Christian Chapel site and the ruined farm of Upper Ballaharry.

Ballaharry01

Dhoon and Bulgham Brooghs

The land at the Dhoon and Bulgham Brooghs is the main haunt on the Island of the larger feral goat flock.  Notice the impressive geology of Manx slate in the cliffs which are home to Chough, Ravens and Peregrines.

View 360 degree images

dhoon17MB

Maughold Head and Gob ny Rona

A wonderful place for a coastal walk with high sea views, Maughold Head has an Iron Age fort at its summit.  In the 5th & 6th centuries, iron ore was taken from here for smelting.  A monastery also once existed on the windy cliff top.  Colonies of seabirds such as Razorbills, Guillemots, Kittiwakes, Fulmars and Shags nest amongst the cliffs.

The ‘cross shelter’ in Maughold churchyard is nearby.

Enjoy impressive views of Ramsey from the coastal footpath at Gob ny Rona, a small peninsula of heath and low cliffs.

Maughold Head, Aerial

Killabregga

A small upland farm at Killabrega sits next to a public footpath which provides commanding views over the Sulby Glen and beyond.

S&M-Killabrega01.tif

The Curraghs

The Curraghs is a wetland site of international importance under the ‘RAMSAR’ convention.

The Curraghs’ occupies the basin of an Ice Age lake.  In the past it was managed for grazing, hay and peat digging.

The Curraghs form a mosaic of willow and bog myrtle scrub, sphagnum bog, open water and flower-rich hayfields which support a wide variety of wildlife.  They provide a communal winter roost for Hen Harriers and a breeding habitat for a highly endangered migratory bird, the corncrake.

IOM_8, Curraghs;

The Ayres

The Ayres is an Area of Special Scientific Interest and stretches from Blue Point in the west to the Point of Ayre in the east. Internationally important for its wildlife are the extremely rare lichen dominated heath, marram grass-covered dune and ‘gaelic’ heath.  The latter is characterised by its mix of heather and low-growing western gorse.

Look out for Orchids and Burnet Rose and the many species of burrowing beetles.  Take care not to disturb the colonies of nesting terns on the beach, wildlife and birds nesting in the surrounding area.  

Visitors with dogs should take extra care, with dogs kept on leads during the nesting season – 1 April to 1 August.

View 360 degree images

JC-AyresFishing-2

Calf of Man

The Calf of Man is a beautiful island, situated half a mile off the south-west coast of the Isle of Man.  As a Nature Reserve and Bird Observatory, the Calf is the ideal location to study bird life, flora and fauna.

Calf Nature Walk
Find out more

Woodland and Glens

There are eighteen mountain and coastal National Glens spread around the Island.  They are preserved and maintained in a semi-natural state.  They offer free access to enjoy the tumbling waterfalls, deep rock pools and lush vegetation.

SiteSpring-09_0151

Spooyt Vane Waterfall

Beautiful Spooyt Vane (White spout) waterfall at the top of Glen Mooar. In the centre of the glen are the remains of ‘Cabbal Pherick’. An ancient and listed monument from the 8th – 10th century.

The Sound and the Chasms

On the southernmost tip of the Island you reach the Sound.  A café offers panoramic views across to the Kitterland and Calf of Man and the racing tidal currents which separate them (currently closed for refurbishment, reopening 1 March 2017). This is one of the most popular visitor destinations on the Island. A great place for seal spotting.

On the land between the Sound and Cregneash, you will find the chambered tomb on Meayll Hill and nearby a radar defence station from World War II.  The Chasms, Spanish Head and Black Head show intricate geological formations which provide nesting spaces for many sea birds.

Point of Ayre

The Ayres is an Area of Special Scientific Interest and stretches from Blue Point in the west to the Point of Ayre in the east. Internationally important for its wildlife are the extremely rare lichen dominated heath, marram grass-covered dune and ‘gaelic’ heath. The latter is characterised by its mix of heather and low-growing western gorse.

Look out for Orchids and Burnet Rose and the many species of burrowing beetles. Take care not to disturb the colonies of nesting terns on the beach.

Visitors with dogs should take extra care, with dogs kept on leads during the nesting season – 1 April to 1 August.

View 360 image