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Protected sites

At a local level, biodiversity greatly influences the character of our landscape. Carmarthenshire is justly renowned for its magnificent coast, quiet estuaries, steep wooded valleys and rugged uplands. Throughout much of the rest of the county there is a patchwork of woodlands and fields, bounded by the hedge banks that are frequently of historic importance. The sea and seabed around the Carmarthenshire coast are also rich in species, some of which are of considerable economic importance.

There are a large number of sites of ecological/geological importance in the county.

Carmarthenshire has a number of sites considered to be of international importance for nature conservation. These Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) are designated under European legislation.

Special Protection Areas (SPA)

  • Burry Inlet (also a Ramsar site)
  • Elenydd Mallaen

Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)

  • Afon Teifi
  • Afon Tywi
  • Carmarthen Bay and Estuaries
  • Carmarthen Bay Dunes
  • Cwm Doethie - Mynydd Mallaen
  • Caeau Mynydd Mawr
  • Cernydd Carmel

More information about them and why they were designated can be found on the Natural Resources Wales website.

Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) 

There are 81 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the county (excluding the area within the Brecon Beacons National Park) covering 17,088 Ha, and ranging in size from small fields to large areas of mountain sides and long rivers.

They cover approximately 7.2 % of the county. SSSI are the best wildlife and geological sites in the country. They include habitats such as ancient woodland, flower-rich meadows, wetlands as well as disused quarries and support plant and animal species which are not often seen in the wider countryside.

SSSIs are statutorily protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended by the Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000). The Natural Resources Wales has responsibility for identifying, notifying and protecting SSSIs.

Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) 

Carmarthenshire has five Local Nature Reserves (LNRs). LNRs are designated by local authorities and are places which support a rich variety of wildlife or geological features and which are important to local people, by enabling contact with the natural environment.

The LNRs in the county are managed with the conservation of wildlife as the top priority. They are Pembrey Burrows and Saltings, Ashpits Pond and Pwll Lagoon, North Dock Dunes (all in the Llanelli coastal area), Carreg Cennen and Glan-yr-Afon, Kidwelly.

Page updated on: 03/05/2016

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