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Nature reserves

Local Nature Reserves are havens for wildlife and are open to all to experience the peace and quiet of the natural world. Carmarthenshire County Council, with support from the Countryside Council for Wales, looks after Local Nature Reserves as part of a commitment to safeguard biodiversity that was agreed at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Brazil, 1992. 

There are five Local Nature Reserves in Carmarthenshire: Pembrey Burrows and Saltings, Ashpits Pond and Pwll Lagoon, North Dock Dunes, Carreg Cennen and Glan-yr-Afon, Kidwelly.

Pembrey -burrows

Pembrey Burrows 

A large dune system which is actively being built up, a rare feature, where you can see all the different types of sand dune including embryo dunes, large semi-stable yellow dunes and the more stable grey dunes that form dune grassland. It is renowned for its plant diversity and is home to many rarities including Dune Pansy, Dune Gentian, Sand Catchfly, Bloody Cranesbill, Fragrant Evening Primrose and Kidney Vetch. The insect life that relies on this plant diversity is also unique and you can find the Small Blue and Marbled White butterfly as well as many species of solitary bee and wasp such as the Brown-banded Carder Bee. The ungrazed saltmarsh is home to the rare Rock Sea Lavender which fills the saltmarsh with purple flowers in August. Golden Samphire and Sea Aster also flower later in the summer with a blaze of yellow.

Northdock -dunes

North Dock Dunes 

Protected because it is a rare sand dune habitat with a high diversity of specialist plants and animals. The plants and animals that live in the dunes are specially adapted to withstand the harsh conditions. In summer the dunes are hot and dry whilst in winter they are windblown with a salty sea spray. Colourful plants adorn the dune grassland in spring such as lady’s bedstraw, cat’s-ear, wild pansy and the parasitic common broomrape while sea holly and greater knapweed occur on broken ground. The specialist invertebrate life of the dunes contains species that are more commonly associated with warmer climates further south, for example, the ‘sand hill snail’ originates in the Mediterranean and here is at the most northerly point in its world

Ashpits Pond and Pwll Lagoon 

Ashpits -ponddistribution. In summer many can be seen clinging to plant stems to avoid the hot sand.

Formerly used as settling lagoons for pulverised fuel ash from the now demolished Carmarthen Bay Power Station. Ashpits Pond is an important area for breeding wetland birds and the area of reed surrounding the pond provides shelter for breeding and resting birds. Mute swan, mallard, tufted duck, little grebe, great crested grebe, coot and moorhen all breed here. Reed warbler, sedge warbler and reed bunting breed in the reed beds, whilst the rare Cetti’s warbler is found in the willow carr. Water rail and pochard occur in winter. Pwll Lagoon forms a wet woodland and fen community particularly rich in plant life. An interesting feature of the site is the presence of both lime-loving and lime-hating species growing close together. This occurs because the pulverised fuel ash is initially very alkaline. Six species of rush including the localised blunt-flowered rush are found here. Ragged-robin, purple loosestrife and southern marsh-orchid grow along with common reed. More open areas of fen are covered with sedges, such as false fox-sedge whilst there are also populations of lesser centaury and common sundew. Within the birch-willow woodland acidophile plants occur such as royal fern and lemon-scented fern.

Page updated on: 03/05/2016

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