How the Sands of LIFE project will be boosting sand dunes around South Wales

Hot on the heels of our recent update on upcoming work at Newborough Warren and Forest, Sands of LIFE Project and Monitoring Officer South, Laura Bowen, shares the project’s plans for five key sand dune sites along the South Wales coast this autumn.

As families savour the memories of summer staycations by the sea and a range of outstanding orchids approach the end of their yearly bloom, the team behind the Sands of LIFE project’s attention has turned to important conservation work planned at five key sand dune sites along the South Wales coast this autumn.

At Kenfig over the coming months we will be scraping an area of dune slack to recreate bare sand habitat that is being lost from Wales’ sand dunes at an alarming rate. We will also be removing scrub that is threatening to take over areas of the dunes.

A lot of vital work is due to start towards late summer at Merthyr Mawr. We will be creating one notch in the front of the dunes and scraping to restore a previous dune slack. There will also be a total of 16 small areas where turf will be stripped away – recreating crucial bare sand habitat.

Over at Pembrey Burrows we will be controlling the invasive sea buckthorn. Despite its vibrant flash of colour from its orange berries, this thorny species is non-native to our sand dunes and takes over the precious space native plants require to survive.

Whilst at Laugharne-Pendine Burrows we will be removing invasive scrub and completing 3km of fencing to help protect the cattle who graze the dunes. We will also be mowing at Whiteford Burrows, Merthyr Mawr and Kenfig to help keep the vegetation short.

As autumn draws on, we will be thinning and felling some of the conifers within a plantation at Whiteford Burrows. Conifers aren’t native to our sand dunes and they were planted in the past for timber and to stabilise the once moving dunes. Conifers, however, shade out and overwhelm native species and dry out naturally wet areas.

Some of these conifers are reaching the end of their commercial life and will start to decline and blow over if not harvested. Their removal will also help to restore the sand dunes by creating open areas of flower-rich dune grassland habitat.

We will be carrying out engagement with the local community to provide information about the felling plans and give the opportunity to raise comments and questions.

All Sands of LIFE work is completed to help keep sand dune habitats healthy. Please keep an eye on our social media feeds where we’ll continue to post regular work updates. We’re found @TwyniByw on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook or by searching Sands of LIFE.

If you have any queries about our work, please feel free to get in contact with me directly via email at

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