Kenfig National Nature Reserve
Dune know what’s going on?
Experimental work starts to save rare flower,
at its last remaining habitat in Wales.
Fen orchids, which rely on the continual creation of sand dunes,
have disappeared from almost all coastal sites across Wales. Now,
these fragile white flowers are under threat at Kenfig National
Nature Reserve near Bridgend – one of their last remaining
strongholds in the UK.
Heavy machinery, not always associated with a tranquil coastal
setting, is coming to their rescue. Work to create new dune slack
habitat started on the 15th of February and will continue until the
26th. In time, this will become ideal habitat for two very rare
species which are of European importance - Petalwort (Petalophyllum
ralfsii), a rare liverwort, will hopefully be spotted within the
first five years, and the fen orchid within ten years.
Clive Hurford, CCW Conservation Monitoring Team Leader said: “We
are stepping in to give nature a helping hand. The natural process
of dune creation has been disrupted due to a range of issues, such
as fewer summer storms to blow dry sand inland, which has led to
less sand being available for dunes to regenerate naturally. Also,
lower levels of grazing by rabbits, sheep and cattle have
contributed to making the dunes less suitable to fen orchids which
depend on the short and open vegetation found in newly-formed dune
The Countryside Council for Wales will be monitoring this
project at Kenfig in collaboration with staff from Bridgend County
Bridgend Council Reserve Manager David Carrington said: “We will
be keeping a close eye on how wildlife, especially the very rare
plants, colonise the new habitat. This will help us plan a long
term strategy for the site and secure the future of fen orchids,
one of Wales’ rarest natural treasures.”
Over 13,000 people visit Kenfig National Nature Reserve every
year to enjoy the area's wildlife and make use of its award-winning
The day to day management of Kenfig NNR is undertaken by
Bridgend County Borough Council.
On this site, there was once a thriving town and castle. But,
from thirteenth to the sixteenth century, the dunes at Kenfig
extended and finally engulfed the town and nearby farmland during a
series of violent storms.
The only surviving evidence of the ancient borough is the castle
keep, which rises out of the dunes at the north east corner of the
Apart from the boardwalk to the bird hides, access to the dunes
is along natural sandy paths which are undulating and soft.
How to get there:
Kenfig National Nature Reserve can be reached from Junction 37
of the M4 Motorway and is signposted from North Cornelly, Pyle and
Porthcawl. Free car park.
Local buses stop outside the reserve. For more information
contact Traveline Cymru on 0871 2002233.
There is a visitor centre with an exhibition and a shop selling
leaflets and booklets about the reserve and other wildlife in
Wales. A boardwalk leads from the visitor centre to hides
overlooking Kenfig Pool.
For more information contact Brân Devey, Press Officer,
on 02920 772 403 or 07747767443.
CCW is supporting the 2010 International Year of
Biodiversity, declared by the United Nations. Biodiversity is the
variety of life on Earth. It is essential for sustaining the
natural living systems or ecosystems that provide us with food,
fuel, health, wealth, and other vital services. To find out more
The Countryside Council for Wales is an Assembly
Government Sponsored Body, working for a better Wales where
everyone values and cares for our natural environment. More
information about our work is available on www.ccw.gov.uk