Sands of LIFE project to remove scrub and revitalise Newborough’s dune grasslands

We manage many fantastic projects across Wales, conserving many sites and helping the wildlife that calls them home. Leigh Denyer, Sands of LIFE Project and Monitoring Officer North, tells us more about some upcoming work at Newborough…

Our Sands of LIFE project will soon be removing invasive scrub at Newborough to safeguard this precious dune habitat.

Part of our work will include removing invasive non-native plants, such as sea buckthorn, Japanese rose, New Zealand flax and white poplar at Newborough in order to boost wildflower-rich dune slacks and grassland.

This will provide the conditions that are so crucial to the survival of some of Wales’ rarest plants and insects, such as the petalwort liverwort and the vernal mining bee.

This stage of the work will take place on Twyni Penrhos in the north west corner of the dune system. The eradication of non-native species will restore the natural balance of the ecological communities and allow low-growing dune plants to thrive. The work will provide a much-needed boost to the species which depend on healthy dunes for their survival.

Other Sands of LIFE work planned for Newborough over the coming months includes recreating damp habitat; promoting sustainable grazing by livestock and rabbits; scrub control in forest glades and mowing dune grassland to encourage wild flowers.

Why does this work need to happen?

Sand dunes are one of the rarest habitats in Europe and support highly specialised and rich plant and animal communities.

However, over the last 80 years, open sand has largely disappeared from Wales’ dunes and been replaced by dense grass and scrub. Our dunes have become stable and fixed, and rare wildlife has declined. This change has been caused by factors such as the introduction of non-native plants, lack of traditional grazing, a declining rabbit population and air pollution.

Our project has been given the task of helping to revitalise sand dunes across Wales. We will restore over 2,400 hectares of sand dunes, across four Special Areas of Conservation, on 10 separate Welsh sites. Our project will run until December 2022.

For further information about our work at Newborough and at other sites around Wales, please contact

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