Natural Heritage

Natural heritage refers to the sum total of the elements of biodiversity, including flora and fauna, ecosystems and geological structures. 


Our natural heritage includes the variety of life we see around us every day often referred to as biodiversity, its physical or geological foundation and the landscapes which form our surroundings. Biodiversity includes everything from trees to weeds, from mammals to birds and from coast to countryside. Protecting and enhancing our biodiversity and landscapes is vital for health, well-being and quality of life of our communities.

For more information on biodiversity projects in Fingal, please visit 

Contact: Hans Visser, Biodiversity Officer

Email:  [email protected]

Tel: 01 890 5605

birds flying over green landscape

Fingal Biodiversity Action Plan 2022 - 2030

Fingal County Council has published a new draft Biodiversity Action Plan for Fingal covering the period 2022 to 2030. We have a biodiversity crisis and urgent action is needed. The Biodiversity Action Plan puts forward an ambitious programme of a hundred actions to reverse the decline in biodiversity by 2030. The actions are based upon recommendations made in ecological studies and on proposals put forward by nature conservation NGO’s, members of the public, the Public Participation Network, Strategic Policy Committee members and various Council Departments. The actions in this plan are centred around six topics:

  1. Delivery of the Ecological Network across Fingal
  2. Building for Biodiversity
  3. Climate change adaption and mitigation
  4. Agri environment schemes and rewilding
  5. Research & monitoring
  6. Raising awareness

We want to hear your views.

You can view or download the Draft Biodiversity Action Plan and make a submission to share your opinions on our Consultation Portal.

Wildlife in Buildings

People live in buildings, and wildlife lives in “nature” – right? Well, not quite. For as long as we have built structures for our protection and shelter, wildlife has taken advantage of these buildings for the very same reasons. From the diverse range of birds and mammals which have colonised abandoned ruins in remote rural landscapes, to wildlife which has moved into suburban and urban areas to live alongside us and even share our homes, buildings have become an integral component of the Irish landscape for biodiversity.

A new book and video on wildlife in buildings have been created by Birdwatch Ireland partnership with the Local Authority Heritage Officer Network. Wildlife in Buildings highlights the importance of the built environment for wildlife and celebrates the species which have adapted to live alongside us and share our homes, and the measures that we can take to ensure we make space for nature.

The video produced by BirdWatch Ireland and Crow Crag productions in partnership with Laois, Clare and Tipperary County Councils, supported by the Local Biodiversity Action Fund, can be viewed below.

Wildlife in Buildings video

The companion booklet ‘Wildlife in Buildings: linking our built and natural heritage’ was produced by BirdWatch Ireland, Kerry County Council and Donegal County Council, with funding from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage through the National Biodiversity Action Plan Fund.

Download for free below, pick up a copy from Fingal Libraries or contact Fingal Heritage Office for a free copy.

Download Wildlife in Buildings booklet

Download An Dúlra i bhFoirgnimh

Wildlife in buildings

Gardening for Biodiversity

Gardening for Biodiversity is a new free booklet from the Local Authority Heritage Officer Network to help everyone to help wildlife in their gardens. The brainchild of Juanita Browne, the booklet was produced by Local Authority Heritage Officers across Ireland, with help from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Heritage Council.

The guide outlines actions that can be taken to improve gardens for birds, bees, butterflies, bats and more with all kinds of projects suitable for everyone.

Based on the Gardening for Biodiversity booklet by Juanita Browne, Laois Heritage Office has developed a series of videos-from how to create a wildflower meadow to building your own garden pond.

How to improve your garden for biodiversity, presented by John Lusby. Produced by Crow Crag Films.


Natural Heritage-Ardgillan

County Geology Sites

The Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) has identified 21 County Geological Sites in Fingal which are important geological sites regionally and nationally. Some we are familiar with, such as the folding rocks at Drumanagh which have featured in many school geography books. Other sites such as the boulder near Ardgillan House or  Lady’s Well Mulhuddart are more surprising. Read more here.


All aspects of natural and cultural heritage come together in our landscape to give us a strong sense of place and well-being. The European Landscape convention which Ireland ratified in 2002 forms the basis for inclusive and participative landscape management. Fingal’s landscapes are characterised as the high lying landscapes of the Naul; the rolling hills of the Ward and Broadmeadow River valleys; the estuaries, river valleys, canals as well as the low-lying landscapes around Oldtown, Ballyboughal and Lusk. Finally the Coastal landscape which includes beaches, islands and headlands.

Historic landscape Characterisation seeks to identify and understand the historic development of today’s landscape by analysing the contribution that past historic processes make to the character of the landscape. Using historical sources, mapping and GIS the layers of land use over time are built up into a holistic picture of both the ancient and modern landscape. Useful for strategic planning, conservation and research these studies illustrate the constantly developing nature of our surroundings.

Balbriggan HLC Report 

Balbriggan HLC Graphics

Swords HLC Text
Swords HLC Maps Part 1
Swords HLC Maps Part 2
Swords HLC Maps Part 3
Swords HLC Maps Part 4
Swords HLC Maps Part 5
Swords HLC Maps Part 6

Donabate Portrane HLC - Text
Donabate Portrane HLC - Maps Part 1
Donabate Portrane HLC - Maps Part 2
Donabate Portrane HLC - Maps Part 3
Donabate Portrane HLC - Maps Part 4 

Natural Heritage Dublin Biosphere

Dublin Bay Biosphere

Biosphere Reserves are places where nature and people connect. They are areas which are internationally recognised for their biological diversity yet also actively managed to promote positive relationships between people and nature. The Dublin Bay Biosphere extends to over 300km2, with over 300,000 people living within it. It is managed by the Dublin Bay Biosphere Partnership, which includes the Dublin Local Authorities, Dublin Port Company, National Parks & Wildlife Service, local community groups and NGOs. Read more at


Natural heritage coastal landscape

The Coast

The coastal area contains many sensitive ecosystems ranging from sand dune systems to estuaries rich in marine and bird life. The importance of the coast is reflected in the number of protected areas of national and international importance including Baldoyle bay, Malahide estuary and Rogerstown estuary which are sites on international importance for wintering ducks, geese, wading birds and their habitats. There are also two areas Balbriggan/Skerries and Malahide that are designated Shellfish Areas which are to support shellfish life and growth of molluscs including oysters, mussels, cockles, scallops and clams.

Green Infrastructure

Green Infrastructure is an innovative approach to the maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the wider landscape, which provides a wide range of environmental, social and economic benefits to communities. Fingal’s Green Infrastructure has a number of key themes-Biodiversity, Parks, Open Space and Recreation, Sustainable Water Management, Archaeological and Architectural Heritage and Landscape.