Dyfi National Nature Reserve - Ynyslas Visitor Centre, near Aberystwyth

Stunning estuary landscape and shifting sand dunes

What's here

What’s open

 

  • trails
  • car park (dependant upon high tide levels)
  • toilets (9am – 5pm)

What’s closed

 

  • visitor centre

Coronavirus update

 

Our sites and most visitor facilities are open.

 

We have changed the normal route for some of our trails to help you maintain social distancing – please follow signs on site.

 

Welcome

Ynyslas is part of the Dyfi National Nature Reserve, situated midway between Aberystwyth and Machynlleth.

The superb dunes of Ynyslas are at the southern side of the estuary mouth and are the largest dunes in Ceredigion.

They demonstrate all the stages of dune formation and growth, from sandy shore through vegetated shingle, fore dunes, mobile dunes and fixed dunes to scrub.

They are home to a rich population of orchids, mosses, liverworts, fungi, insects and spiders; many of these species are rare and some are unknown elsewhere in Britain.

The Dyfi estuary has vast areas of internationally important mudflats, sandbanks and saltmarsh that provide important feeding and roosting areas for wetland birds.

The beach has a red flag for bathing due to the dangerous strong tidal currents - this means that swimming is not allowed.

Ynyslas Visitor Centre

The visitor centre is open Easter until the end of September.

It has a small shop and toilets. 

It sells hot and cold drinks and snacks.

The visitor centre has been accredited as a Quality Assured Visitor Attraction by Visit Wales.  The Visit Wales Quality Marque is awarded to attractions that have been independently assessed against the national standards of the Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme.

Walking trails

There is a 500 metre boardwalk from the visitor centre across the dunes to the beach and a shell path from the visitor centre to a boardwalk across the dunes to the beach.

There is also a footpath from the caravan park to the shell path where it joins the boardwalk.

Two waymarked circular walks start from the beach car park.

Dune Walk

1¼ miles, 2 kilometres, easy

Stride through the ever-changing dunes and along the seashore, with stunning displays of flowers in spring and summer and colourful fungi in autumn.

Ynyslas Walk

2½ miles, 4 kilometres, easy

Experience a rich variety of habitat including sand dunes, seashore, farmland and then saltmarsh, with stunning views of the estuary.

What to see at the National Nature Reserve

Ynyslas is part of the Dyfi National Nature Reserve.

This 2,000 hectare reserve also includes the Dyfi estuary and Cors Fochno.

The landscape and wildlife varies at Ynyslas depending on which time of year you visit – read on to find out what to look out for.

Spring

As the weather warms up, there are spring flowers in the dunes and flowering cotton grass on the raised bog.

You may catch a glimpse of one of the many reptiles that live here such as the common lizard, sand lizard, adder and grass snake. The Welsh vernal mining bee is also active during the spring.

There is plenty of birdsong to enjoy, too, from the likes of skylarks, linnets, chiffchaffs and willow warbler. In the evening, nightjars can be heard.

Summer

Summer brings a varied display of flowers to the reserve.  Marsh and bee orchids appear in the early summer in the dune slacks (the wet areas of the dunes) followed by pyramidal orchids. There are also colourful saltmarsh flowers, sea pink, sea aster, sea spurrey and, in late summer, marsh helleborine.

Butterflies and day-flying moths fill the air, while dragonflies dart around the raised bog.

You might spot wildlife like osprey and otter on the estuary.

Autumn

The autumn colours are rich and varied on the raised bog which is dressed in a range of russet red colours. 

Fungi including waxcaps, earth stars, puffballs and bird’s nest fungi add to the colourful display.

Migrating waders can be seen in the estuary.

Winter

During the winter months, the Dyfi estuary is home to wintering wildfowl while, on the beach, you may see waders, sanderling and golden plover.

Keep your eyes peeled for hunting birds of prey over the bog. Look out for:

  • red kites
  • buzzards
  • hen harriers
  • merlins
  • peregrine falcons

You might also catch sight of the Greenland white-fronted goose: this is its only locality throughout Wales and England.

National Nature Reserves in Wales

There are over 70 National Nature Reserves in Wales.

National Nature Reserves are places with some of the very finest examples of wildlife habitats and geological features. 

Find out more about National Nature Reserves.

School visits

Educational groups are welcome, but are asked to contact us by email before visiting.

Dogs

Keep dogs under control and do not let them chase birds along the tide line. 

Keep all dogs on leads within the grazing enclosures from October through to the end of March - these fenced areas have gates and have signs indicating the presence of sheep.

Please use the dog bins provided. 

Accessibility information

There is a small car park for disabled visitors only beside the main access road to Ynyslas, 30 metres south of the beach car park. 

There is access from the disabled visitors car park via a hard surfaced track and wooden ramp suitable for wheelchairs to the Ynyslas Visitor Centre.

A section of the dune walk is accessible to wheel chairs from the visitor centre going south for 300m to the main dune slack; there are gentle gradients along this section.

The toilets at Ynyslas Visitor Centre are accessible.

Opening times

Please check the top of this page for any changes to these opening times.

Ynyslas Visitor Centre is open daily between 9am and 5pm from Easter to the end of September.

The reserve and walking trails are open all year round.

The car park is open all year round but is dependant upon high tide levels.

The toilets are open from 9am to 5pm.

Closures and diversions

Please note:

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or forest operations
  • Occasionally we may have to close a site in extreme weather, such as high winds or snow and ice due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff
  • Please always follow any instructions onsite and make sure you follow any temporary diversion signs in place

How to get here 

Location

Ynyslas is 1 mile north of Borth.

It is in the county of Ceredigion.

Ordnance Survey map

Ynyslas is on Ordnance Survey (OS) map 23.

The OS grid reference is SN 609 941.

Directions

Ynyslas Visitor Centre is off the B4353.

Follow the no through road alongside the dunes and golf course to the beach car park.

Public transport

The nearest train station is in Borth.

There is a bus service from Aberystwyth to Tre’r-ddol, which goes via Borth and Ynyslas.

For details of public transport visit Traveline Cymru's website.

Parking

Car parking costs £2.

The car park is on tidal sands which are covered by seawater in high spring tides. 

Please take note of tide times on  the warning sign displayed at the entrance during periods with high tides.

Contact details

Tel: 01970 872901 or 0300 065 3000

Email: ynyslas@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk

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