A major conservation project to improve the condition of sand dunes across Wales has been given the green light for European funding.
Natural Resources Wales’ (NRW) £4 million project will mean that NRW and its partners can conserve and restore nearly 25km2 – or nearly the equivalent of 2,500 rugby pitches – of dunes in 10 sites across Wales.
Sand dunes are the habitat most at risk throughout Europe.
They are some of the richest places for wildlife in Wales but many of the rarest species have declined and in some cases disappeared as the dunes have become more stable.
Sand dunes are a naturally dynamic habitat. As coastal winds blow, new ‘dunes form and they slowly grow and shift to create the landscapes we know.
In recent decades many have become smothered by thick vegetation.
But trials to re-mobilise dunes at Kenfig, Merthyr Mawr and Newborough Warren are already beginning to show signs of success, with the critically endangered fen orchid and many other species making a significant come back .
Clare Pillman, Natural Resources Wales’ Chief Executive, said:
“We’re really excited about this fantastic project to save our dunes and the rare species which live there.
“The work will also give more people the opportunity to learn about our fascinating wildlife.
“Dunes are not only a backdrop to a day at the seaside – they are home to some of our rarest species and are in desperate need of help.
“This injection of EU LIFE funding means we can improve their condition and demonstrate our contribution to help deliver the Welsh Government’s Nature Recovery Action Plan.”
NRW will work with partners and landowners of the 10 areas, which include Kenfig and Merthyr Mawr Dunes and Carmarthen Bay Dunes in South Wales, the Dunes Between Abermenai and Aberffraw on Anglesey as well as Morfa Harlech and Morfa Dyffryn in Gwynedd.