Beddgelert Forest, near Porthmadog
Peaceful forest in the heart of Snowdonia National...
Coastal landscape with a vast dune system of international importance
All Natural Resources Wales (NRW) car parks, play areas and toilet blocks in the reserves, woods and forests are closed from 23 March 2020.
For more information see our main page on coronavirus.
Morfa Harlech National Nature Reserve is one of the most important actively growing dune systems in Britain and one of only a handful in Wales.
Dunes like these with bare sand areas are becoming increasingly rare.
This impressive coastal landscape is one of our richest natural treasures and home to a diverse range of plants and animals, all especially adapted to life at the edge of the sea.
Together with Morfa Dyffryn National Nature Reserve in the south, the two reserves form an almost continuous area of sand dunes along the coastline.
Morfa Harlech is a National Nature Reserve.
National Nature Reserves are places with some of the very finest examples of wildlife habitats and geological features.
There are over 70 National Nature Reserves in Wales.
During the year, the landscape changes at Morfa Harlech National Nature Reserve.
Depending on when you visit, you are likely to see different wildlife.
Read on to find out what you could see here during the different seasons.
In spring and summer keep an eye out for the three-coloured dune pansy, the pyramidal orchid or even the scarce bee orchid.
You may also be lucky enough to see a maiden pink.
In autumn, there are displays of late flowering plants such as autumn gentians and autumn ladies tresses within the dunes. Look out for unique fungi growing in the dunes, too!
When in ﬂower, the dry dune grasslands are home to a number of butterﬂies and moths, such as the six-spot burnet moth and the common blue and small copper butterﬂies.
Other insects such as some of our rarest mining bees and solitary wasps depend on bare sand and you may spot a sand lizard, too.
Ringed plover nest on the beach from March – July so please try not to disturb them!
Birds such as the skylark and stonechat breed in the dunes, with redshank and lapwing using the saltmarsh.
In winter wading birds such as oystercatcher, dunlin and sanderling feed along the shoreline, and wildfowl make use of the estuaries and saltmarsh.
There is a public footpath from Min y Don car park to the beach (turn right along the beach to reach the start of the reserve).
We have fenced off some parts of the reserve to allow grazing or to protect fragile dune plants.
There are public toilets in Min y Don car park which are run by Gwynedd Council.
The Wales Coast Path goes through Morfa Harlech National Nature Reserve.
The Wales Coast Path provides a continuous walking route around the coastline of Wales.
Go to the Wales Coast Path website to find out more.
Please keep dogs on leads during the bird breeding season March – July; ringed plovers nest right on the beach and other birds nest in the dunes and saltmarsh.
The beach toilets may be locked during the winter months.
There are also toilets opposite the turning from the main road to the beach road.
Morfa Harlech National Nature Reserve is less than a mile to the west of Harlech, just off the A496.
From Barmouth, take the A496 towards Harlech. At the right turn for the village of Harlech stay on the A496 (signposted to Maentwrog). Go over the level crossing and take the next left. Follow this minor road (Ffordd Glan Mor) to the car park.
The Min y Don car park is run by Gwynedd Council and there is a parking charge.
There is a bicycle rack in the car park.
Morfa Harlech National Nature Reserve is on Ordnance Survey (OS) map OL 18.
The OS grid reference is SH 574 316.
The nearest train station is in Harlech.
There is a bus service from both the south (Barmouth and Dolgellau) and north (Maentwrog) along the A496. There is a bus stop at the end of Ffordd Glan Mor.
For details of public transport visit the Traveline Cymru website.
Tel: 0300 065 3000
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