Morfa Dyffryn nature reserve

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Morfa Dyffryn nature reserve

This National Nature Reserve stretches for 7km along the coastline between the mouths of the rivers Artro (in the north) and Ysgethin. This highly dynamic and ever-changing dune landscape is home to rich populations of specialist dune plants and animals.

Bare areas of damp sand in the slacks (low-lying seasonally damp hollows) are host to the petalwort, a diminutive member of the liverwort family. Morfa Dyffryn is also notable for its large populations of specialist dune insects such as the Celtic mining bee Colletes cunicularius, a social bee which inhabits warm south-facing dune escarpments. The extensive rabbit warrens over the site provide nesting habitat for the wheatear, which prefers to raise its chicks underground, away from avian predators.

Morfa Dyffryn is recognised as the most dynamic sand dune system in Wales, with large expanses of mobile, bare and partially vegetated sand. This is unusual as most dune systems in the UK and Europe have become increasingly stable and vegetated, making them more and more unsuitable for the highly specialised dune species. Morfa Dyffryn therefore provides a highly valuable refuge for these rare species.

On the coastal edge the activities of the scarce honeycomb worm create little mounds along the lower foreshore. This helps to consolidate the beach and provide a stable reef habitat for diverse marine species.

Morfa Dyffryn is managed by Natural Resources Wales in partnership with Snowdonia National Park Authority.

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