The climax vegetation in the Magilligan dune ecosystem is forest. Without interference an indigenous forest would develop, with willow, hazel, birch and oak. In the places at the rear of the dunes where this has happened, the tree canopy and the undergrowth and forest floor is rich in insect and other life.
Many species of plant are found in the forest including cuckoo pint, wood anemones, sorrel, celandines, ivy and mosses. Despite the fact that this has developed on what were once sand dunes, without activity which prevents it, the ecosystem will develop into a climax vegetation which is temperate forest. In the case of Magilligan the climax vegetation has not been allowed to develop in most parts of the dunes, because of the interference of people (see Dune Management). Hence much of the plagioclimax vegetation consists of sea buckthorn (illustrated here) and burnet rose.
Follow the links in the diagram below to explore the dunes.