Gronant dunes, near Prestatyn
These sand dunes, stretching from Prestatyn to Point of Ayr, are arguably the most substantial and intact area of dunes on the North Wales coast. Elsewhere, centuries of industrialisation, tourism and other human activities have diminished or eradicated the dunes which once lined the coast.
The Gronant dunes support rare plants including sea holly, sea spurge and pyramidal orchid. Rare animals include the brown hare, skylark, mining bee and sandhill rustic moth. The natterjack toad has been reintroduced, and from 2003 to 2006 young sand lizards were released at Gronant dunes. Sand lizards, which are broader and bigger than common lizards, were indigenous to the dunes of the North Wales coast but were wiped out by the impact of human activity on their habitats.
At the eastern end of Gronant dunes lies a shingle spit where little tern, ringed plover and other birds nest. This is one of the Britain’s most productive little tern colonies, comprising more than 6% of the British population. It is the only place in Wales where the species breeds. Denbighshire County Council has managed the colony since 2005, protecting these shy birds from interference. If you’d like to see the birds during the nesting season (spring to late summer), please do not walk to the shingle spit but use the purpose-built viewing platform, which is just a short walk off the Wales Coast Path.