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The Ayres National Nature Rerserve and Nature Discovery Centre

Type:Heritage / Visitor Centre

The Ayres National Nature Rerserve and Nature Discovery Centre


The Ayres National Nature Reserve and Area of Special Scientific Interest is an important stretch of low-lying sand dune coastline, great for walking and bird watching.

The Discovery Centre sits within the sand dunes, an area which stretches 8 kilometres from Cronk-y-Bing to the Point of Ayre. 

The Nature Discovery Centre, run by Manx Wildlife Trust volunteers tells visitors about the vulnerable area and provides information about its birds, habitats and rare plant communities. A short film beautifully illustrating some of the natural highlights of the surrounding area can be viewed in the Centre.

Leading from the shingle beach, there are 3 marked trails that wind through the marram dunes and onto the expanse of heath with its extensive lichen flora. A wooden platform is available to enhance viewing along the coastline and out to sea. There are plenty of birds to watch including diving gannets, if you're lucky. You might even spot an occasional seal.

The beach provides a great walk too.

There are three trails which all begin at the Visitor Centre and vary depending on their length and terrain. The routes are marked by coloured stobs in the ground which correspond to the route you wish to follow:

Red route: surfaced, wooden steps, grass 

Blue route: mixed terrain of grass and sand 

Black route: mixed terrain of grass, sand and shingle  

The Ayres to The Smeale Coastal Area is a British Isles Dark Sky Discovery sites complete with an interpretation board to allow visitors to enjoy the stunning stargazing opportunities.

The Island is ideally placed to see the magnificent sight of the Northern Lights on many occasions. The Northern lights are normally only seen from Northerly locations such as Alaska, Norway and Iceland, however the crystal clear Northern horizon from the Islands North eastern coast means this fascinating phenomenon can often be seen from the Island. The Manx Night sky is an amazing experience that will astound even the most experienced stargazer.

Advice and Safety Information

Care must be taken whilst walking along certain parts of the route, as uneven terrain is a common feature. Whilst walking along the footpaths, please be aware of the birds and plants present. Dogs must be kept on leads during the bird nesting season 1st April to 31st July and when livestock are present.

Leisurely - walks for reasonably fit people with at least a little country walking experience. The route will included some unsurfaced paths and uneven terrain. Suitable boots and clothing are recommended.



  • Guide Dogs Permitted

Parking & Transport

  • Parking (free)

Provider Facilities

  • Dogs Accepted - On a lead
The Ayres, Ballaghennie Road, Bride, IM7 4BF
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Call direct on:

Tel+44 (0)1624 844432

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  • AccoladesUNESCO Biosphere Partner UNESCO Biosphere Partner 2021

Opening Times

2024 (4 May 2024 - 15 Sept 2024)
Monday - Sunday13:00 - 16:00

* The Ayres site and trails are open all year round.

Map & Directions

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