Help Protect Our Special Places
Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership (SLLP) is asking for the public’s help in protecting its special places.
Coney Island, a much-loved secluded beach on the Lecale coast, is part of the Strangford Lough and Lecale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Its habitats and wildlife are protected by several nature conservation designations, including an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI). The beach, and everything on it, is protected by law and the SLLP urges everyone who visits it, or any other beach, to think again before taking shells, pebbles, drift wood or even sand home.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Charlie Casey said, “Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is extremely proud of all of our special places. We take pride in our natural heritage and encourage our visitors and residents alike to work with us to protect it.
“Coney Island is one of many hidden treasures along our coast. We ask everyone to help us to protect it by following the well-known principle of ‘take only photographs, leave only footprints and kill nothing but time’. Leave our special places as you found them so that all those that come after can enjoy them as well.”
Judith Caldwell from the Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership said, “We were contacted by concerned Coney Island residents, who reported that beach material was being removed by visitors and members of the public. I would ask people to please not remove any natural material from our beaches, or damage or disturb the natural habitats in any way. It may only seem like a little to you, but everything on the beach has its place in nature; as a home or food or shelter for the wildlife that make this place so special.”
To help remind people not to take anything from the beach, SLLP have produced some new signage and information leaflets. The leaflet title, ‘Welcome to Coney Island Beach - Your home for the holidays, but the home of many different kinds of wildlife the whole year round!’ points to the importance of the habitat on Coney Island and how crucial it is that everyone takes responsibility for protecting it.