Discover dunes on the Wales Coast Path

Find a sand dune on the path

Free downloadable resources about dunes and itineraries available
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Learn about dynamic dunes along the Wales Coast Path

You will probably have passed a few sand dunes on your walk on the path. The path weaves past many internally important sand dunes in Wales. Read on to find out why they are so important for wildlife and how you can enjoy them when you visit the path. 

A sandy wildlife haven

Sand dunes are fascinating natural ecosystems and home to an enormous variety of plants and animals. While travelling along the Wales Coast Path you might find yourself surrounded by impressive sandy hills or rolling flower-rich grasslands, interspersed with marshy dune hollows (dune slacks), which are typical of our Welsh dunes.

A walk in the dunes has something for everyone – whether you’re looking for a place to unwind and relax, discover our cultural heritage or see rare wildlife.

Sand dunes are wildlife hotspots where plants like marsh orchid and dune pansy can be found alongside skylarks, butterflies, rare mining bees and other endangered insects.

Tucked away in the undergrowth you might spot the occasional lizard or toad, and down by shoreline maybe a shark egg-case cast up by the rolling waves.

Though legally protected as Special Areas of Conservation and Sites of Special Scientific Interest, sand dunes are listed as the habitat most at risk in Europe for biodiversity loss, and rare wildlife is still disappearing.

Managing a dynamic landscape

Over the years many dunes have become overly stabilised and sand is no longer able to move freely. This change has been caused by factors such as insufficient grazing by livestock and rabbits, climate change, air pollution and invasive alien species. Reduced sand supply, forestry and past stabilisation works (such as erecting fences and planting marram grass) have also played a part.

To promote the restoration and rejuvenation of sand dunes, site managers and projects like Dynamic Dunescapes and Sands of LIFE, use a range of active management techniques, like scrub clearance, turf stripping and reprofiling.

Watch the video to see how sand dunes are managed

Where you can find dunes on the path

We’ve put together a list of sand dune itineraries which bring you up close to this unique landscape along the Wales Coast Path. You can use the path to explore the dunes of Wales at all times of year. They are great places for picnics and play but keep the dunes’ beautiful wildlife in mind.

Please act responsibly and follow the Countryside Code including disposing of litter instead of dropping it and keeping dogs under control. Keep an eye out for signs and follow any local guidance.

Why not stop and rest for a moment, listen to the skylarks sing and drink in the view? Dunes have much more to offer than you think.

Resources about dunes

You can find lots of free resources below to help you enjoy your visit to the dunes.

Learn about some of the dunes along the coast path before your visit ont he following websites Dynamic Dunescapes, Sands of LIFE

Read interesting facts and figures about sand dunes and check out the Dynamic Dunescapes videos

Download Dune activity packs for some fun family activities like dune eye spy, crosswords and ‘design your own dune animal’ – perfect for taking with you on your walks.

Calling all educators

Download for free education packs for school children and students from Dynamic Dunescapes and Sands of Life websites.

Other activities for school children and students are available from the following websites Dynamic Dunescapes and Sands of LIFE.

About the projects

Dynamic Dunescapes is a pan England and Wales project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the European LIFE programme. Work has been delivered in partnership by Natural England, Plantlife, National Trust, Natural Resources Wales and The Wildlife Trusts alongside other local groups and private landowners.

Sands of LIFE is a major project led by Natural Resources Wales, funded by the European LIFE programme and Welsh Government. The project is restoring and rejuvenating sand dunes within four Special Areas of Conservation in Wales.

Thank you to the Dynamic Dunescapes and Sands of LIFE teams for their contribution to this blog.