Newborough - working towards a natural resource plan

Newborough beach during a sunset

At Newborough, this starts with developing a way forward, an aspirational vision for the whole site. This vision will be supported by a set of objectives. More detailed planning and associated projects will be drafted in line with these objectives and available resources.

A changing landscape

Newborough and the surrounding area is a complex and dynamic system. There are, and there will continue to be, natural and managed changes.

Managing these changes will be based on testing new approaches, using new evidence and reviewing our work. But all this will be balanced with people’s values and concerns. In this way, we will strive to conserve and enhance what makes Newborough and the surrounding area special, and aim to meet people’s aspirations and needs, recognising that Newborough fits into a national and international context.

The passion with which Newborough is valued by people is our greatest asset for the future. NRW recognises this and will continue to engage with local people and visitors to understand their values and concerns. We will explain our management, in the context of current scientific understanding, legal and policy obligations. In such a complex site, it is a real challenge to meet all the different interests and uses. But we will continuously seek to balance these wherever possible.

This document sets out our definition of the site and a draft way forward for Newborough.

Definition of the Site

To develop Newborough’s Natural Resource Plan we have divided the site into four tiers:

  1. Area owned and/or directly managed by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) via lease, agreement etc
    1. Newborough Warren and Ynys Llanddwyn National Nature Reserve (including Traeth Cefni and Traeth Melynog)
    2. Newborough Forest – Welsh Government Woodland Estate
    3. Malltraeth Cob
  2. Areas adjacent to, or considered to be an integral part of the Newborough ecosystem, that are owned/managed by others but where NRW has a legal responsibility to work with landowners and land managers - eg Sites of Special Scientific Interest or Special Area of Conservation
    1. Y Twyni o Abermenai i Aberffraw / Abermenai to Aberffraw Dunes (including Tywyn Aberffraw and Morfa Dinlle)
    2. Glannau Mon Cors Heli / Anglesey Coast saltmarsh
    3. Glan-traeth
  3. Area beyond the boundaries of 1 and 2, where there may be opportunities for NRW to work with landowners, land managers and others on future management or to provide social and economic benefits in line with the aspirations for the site. For example, to join up habitats or recreational opportunities
  4. The wider area, where NRW will engage with the wider community of interest; visitors, academics and others interested in future management of Newborough and the surrounding area (ie tiers 1, 2 and 3 above)

A Way Forward for Newborough


Landscape and seascape including coastal landforms, forest, geology and geomorphology

The southern tip of Anglesey is an iconic landscape and seascape of wind and waves, rock, sand and forest, valued for its natural qualities as well as its recreational opportunities and cultural history. The area is a key part of the Anglesey Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The two estuaries of the Afon Menai (mouth of the Menai Strait) and Afon Cefni form a dynamic coastal system characterised by distinctive coastal landforms. Natural processes - powered by wind, waves and tide - will continue to create beaches, dunes, slacks, estuarine flats and shingle ridges.

The accessibility of the Precambrian bedrock geology at Newborough means it is one of the best places in Britain to study rocks of this age. These features form an important focus of the Ynys Môn Geopark.

Managing for change

There will be changes along the coastline at Newborough as a result of climate change and sea-level rise. This might include the loss of dunes along the shore and saltmarsh within the estuaries. We will manage the shoreline to allow the coast to adapt naturally wherever possible. This will include realigning the forest boundary in places to restore natural dunes which are better able to respond to a moving coastline.  We will manage the dunes as a dynamic system of both mobile and more stable dunes in a constantly changing landscape.

Malltraeth Cob will be maintained in line with Shoreline Management Plan policies. We recognise the important function of this whole coastal system at Newborough in protecting settlements such as Malltraeth and Dwyran from coastal flooding.

We will continue to safeguard and improve the outstanding landscape character of Newborough.

Habitats and species

This includes coastal, forest and woodland habitats and the associated species

The site’s designated features include areas of rocky shore, shingle ridges, estuary and dune habitats – such as mudflats, saltmarsh and sandy foreshore, strandline, fore-dunes, mobile and more stable dunes, areas of bare sand, wet dune slacks and dune heath.  There are also clear-water lakes and ponds. These habitats may vary in their proportion and location in response to evolving landforms, but should not diminish in total extent or quality. Traeth Llanddwyn will continue to have excellent bathing water quality and the surrounding coastal water, rivers and estuaries will have good water quality and ecology.

There will continue to be a substantial forest area at Newborough providing a range of social, environmental and economic benefits, including recreation, wildlife and timber. The forest will be made up of a range of native and non-native trees that, over time, become more diverse in both species and structure.  Dune woodland and scrub, composed largely of native species, should occur behind areas of exposed dunes.

The site will support a rich diversity of native species typical of the habitats. For example, sea-grass in the estuaries, nesting ringed plover on the shoreline, yellow horned poppy on the shingle, skylark and specialist invertebrates in the dunes, with shore dock and petalwort in the dune slacks. Great crested newt and medicinal leech will occur in some pools and lakes. The estuaries will maintain wintering populations of wildfowl and waders, particularly pintail. The site should also support feeding chough on dunes and strandlines while woodland continues to provide shelter to roosting ravens and populations of bats and owls. Newborough Forest will continue to play a pivotal role in maintaining the red squirrel population on Anglesey.

Managing for change

Opportunities to expand and restore habitats such as dunes, saltmarsh and woodland so that they become better connected and more resilient will continue to be explored.

Shellfisheries in the estuaries will be managed to avoid damage to designated features. Traditionally Traeth Cefni has controlled wildfowling, Traeth Melynog (Braint estuary) and its environs are managed as a strict sanctuary zone and this will continue.

The forest will continue to be managed through low impact silvicultural systems to deliver a forest structure better adapted to the impacts of a changing climate.  It will be managed sustainably, involving regular thinning and underplanting of native and non-native species to help the gradual diversification of the forest, balanced with economic and social priorities.  The forest will be home to a range of woodland and non-woodland native species with particular attention to the conservation of important species such as red squirrels, of which a breeding population will continue to thrive in the forest.

Management of the forest will include establishing dune woodland, as part of the ongoing realignment of the forest near coastal dune habitat. The core forest area will be managed sustainably and diversified over time to develop a more mixed forest. It will remain a resilient and productive forest. We will pay particular attention to the control of invasive non-native species such as grey squirrel, rhododendron, cotoneaster and American black cherry.


This includes the local community, visitors, culture and heritage, access, recreation, education and interpretation

The local community has a strong association with the coastline, forest and dunes at Newborough. Newborough village, formerly known as Rhosyr, historically had a thriving marram grass industry. Bodorgan, Malltraeth and Aberffraw also have strong links with the site. There is a long history of community involvement in the management of the site and this will continue. There will be ongoing regular engagement with the local community to ensure that the way Newborough is managed into the future takes into account their values, ideas and concerns.  We will continue to regularly explain our management work.

Newborough is valued because it offers a wide range of recreational opportunities, from picnics to triathlons, in a peaceful environment. Newborough is more popular than ever, attracting visitors that enjoy a wider range of activities than ever. Wide open spaces and panoramic views sit side-by-side with sheltered coves and hollows. On stormy days the forest offers shelter and on calm days it acts as the gateway to a majestic beach.  The proximity of forest, dune, beach and sea is highly valued by those who use it.

Newborough is connected to the local communities of Malltraeth, Newborough and Dwyran by a network of public rights of way. Many link with the site directly, others link to the Wales Coast Path, which then runs through the site.  The Malltraeth Cob forms part of Lon Las Cefni, a cycle route linking Newborough with Llangefni in the centre of Anglesey.

Newborough will continue to be one of the finest cultural landscapes in Wales, with archaeological sites dating from the Mesolithic, Neolithic remains on the Precambrian rock ridge and the medieval ruins of Llys Rhosyr. Many people will continue to visit Newborough to appreciate the heritage, to learn about the pilots’ cottages on Llanddwyn, the story of Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers, or the history of land reclamation and the building of Malltraeth Cob by Thomas Telford. Students of all ages will still come to Newborough to study the range of habitats and species, to look at the geology and to experience the cultural history.

Managing for change

We will ensure that Newborough remains a welcoming destination for visitors, from local areas and afar, bringing positive economic benefits to this part of Anglesey. It will be a highlight of the Wales Coastal Path and one of Anglesey’s premier bathing beaches.

We want Newborough to continue to offer a wide range of access and recreational activities, aimed at all ages and abilities, that best meet people’s needs. We recognise such activities can improve mental and physical health and well-being.

We will encourage safe and responsible access to the site, including all-ability access wherever possible.  We aim to provide a high quality visitor experience, helping people to learn in and about the environment. We will encourage responsible behaviour, helping people understand the benefits of a well managed environment. Our infrastructure will be well managed, supported by accessible and accurate orientation and interpretative information. This helps boost people’s enjoyment and confidence, whilst furthering their understanding and observation of the natural and historic environment. We will seek to work with other land managers and communities to improve the connectivity of the site with local settlements and public rights of way networks.

We recognise the actual and potential economic importance of Newborough to local communities and we will work with communities to ensure that economic benefits are realised. We will work with local communities to retain and increase involvement with the site, such as exploring further opportunities for volunteering and local employment.

Generations of scientists have studied this area’s geology and biology. We will promote scientific study and educational use of Newborough, and will encourage research which will inform our management.

This is a draft of our Way Forward. Email the completed comments form attached to:

Exploring options for Newborough

Related document downloads

AnsyourqusNewboroF.pdf PDF [276.6 KB]
Newborough A Way Forward Definition of the site (draft) map one PDF [6.0 MB]
Newborough A Way Forward Definition of the site (draft) map two PDF [10.4 MB]
Last updated