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Newborough Warren, in the south-west of the Welsh island of Anglesey, is one of the finest examples of a sand-dune system in Britain.
This National Nature Reserve consists of a large area of sandhills and dune grasslands and there are four main ridges separated by hollows known as "slacks". A large area of dunes close to the reserve has been planted with Corsican Pine and is now known as Newborough Forest.
The Llyn Parc Mawr is a freshwater pool with two nearby hides within the forest. The remaining dunes, which are made up of a large proportion of powdered seashells and thus are high in calcium, have a very rich and varied flora with many scarce species present.
As well as sand-dunes the reserve also consists of a rocky peninsula, Ynys Llanddwyn, and an area of saltmarsh in the east of the Cefni Estuary[Map] including Malltraeth Pool, a noted wader haunt. This range of habitats attracts a variety of birds to Newborough Warren and the area is good for wintering waterfowl and waders.
Breeding species include Canada Goose, Common Shelduck, Common Teal and Red-breasted Merganser as well as Common Kestrel and Eurasian Sparrowhawk. Waders present in summer include Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover and Northern Lapwing and both Great Cormorant and Shag breed at Ynys Llanddwyn.
Sandwich Tern is a common migrant and other terns possible in the Newborough Warren area are Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Little Tern and even Roseate Tern. Sedge Warbler and Grasshopper Warbler breed in the marshy slacks and Common Crossbill, Coal Tit and Goldcrest in Newborough Forest.
During passage periods and in winter the range of species increases with waterfowl such as Bewick's Swan and Whooper Swan, Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Pintail and Northern Shoveler and waders include Purple Sandpiper, Ruff, both godwits, Spotted Redshank and Greenshank.
Divers including Great Northern Diver and grebes including Slavonian Grebe can also be seen in winter. Short-eared Owl occasionally breeds but is a regular winter visitor as are Merlin and Hen Harrier. Golden Pheasant was introduced to the area in the 1970s and small numbers remained for a few years but appear to have died out.
Birds you can see here include:
Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Great Cormorant, European Shag, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Bewick's Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter, Common Goldeneye, Smew, Red-breasted Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Hen Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Red-legged Partridge, Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Red Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Eurasian Woodcock, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Roseate Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Little Tern, Common Woodpigeon, Common Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Short-eared Owl, Common Swift, Common Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Skylark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Common Wren, Dunnock, Eurasian Robin, European Stonechat, Eurasian Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Common Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Treecreeper, Common Jay, Common Magpie, Carrion Crow, Northern Raven, Common Starling, Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Siskin, Eurasian Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, Common Crossbill, Snow Bunting, Reed Bunting
More than 550 plant species have been recorded at Newborough Warren with species such as Sea Spurge Euphorbia paralias, and Dune Pansy Viola curtisii growing amongst the Sand Catstail Phleum arenarium and Marram Grass Ammophila arenaria on the younger dunes. More established dunes have Cuckooflower Cardamine pratensis, Birdsfoot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus, Lady's Bedstraw Galium verum and Meadow Saxifrage Saxifraga granulata. Grass-of-Parnassus Parnassia palustris,
Round-leaved Wintergreen Pyrola rotundifolia and Yellow Birdsnest Monotropa hypopitys grow in the slacks between the dunes along with orchids including Northern Marsh Dactylorhiza purpurella, Early Marsh Dactylorhiza incarnata and the very rare Dune Helleborine Epipactis helleborine.
The Cefni Estuary has one of Britain's largest stands of Sea Rush Juncus maritimus as well as Sea Aster Aster tripolium, Annual Sea-blite Suaeda maritima and Sea Arrowgrass Triglochin maritimum while the rocks of Ynys Llanddwyn are home to Golden Samphire Inula crithmoides and Spring Squill Scilla verna.
History and Use
Areas of Interest
Return to Newborough village and turn right at the second crossroads and head towards the beach after paying a car-parking fee. The car-park has toilets and information and the peninsula of Ynys Llanddwyn [Map]can be reached on foot from here.
From Newborough village head east to a roundabout and then sharp right to the reserve entrance. Llyn Rhos-ddu[Map] is a freshwater lake with densely vegetated margins close to the reserve entrance. Overlooked by a hide, the lake has some waterfowl including Ruddy Duck.
There are several footpaths over the dunes and through the forest, all of which are worth exploring but to protect this fragile environment it is important to keep to the paths.
Access and Facilities
Newborough Warren is located at the south-western tip of Anglesey and can be reached on the A4080 road which passes through Newborough village to the Cefni Estuary.
The area can be viewed from the road or from the embankment known as Malltraeth Cob.
Tel: Warden 01248 672500
- BBC Wales
- Anglesey Nature
- Staying in Wales, Newborough Warren Nature Reserve
- Natural History of Anglesey
- Newborough Warren on Streetmap
- Llyn Rhos-ddu on Streetmap
- Ynys Llanddwyn on Streetmap
- Ceffni and Malltreath area on Streetmap
Content and images originally posted by Steve