Bardsey Island (Ynys Enlli) National Nature Reserve
BARDSEY ISLAND, GWYNEDD
Bardsey Island, 2 miles off the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales, is internationally renowned for its wildlife. This includes birds, rare flowering plants, lichens, liverworts and mosses, coastal grassland and heathland, sea cliffs and marine wildlife. The Bardsey NNR is home to some spectacular seabirds, and is perhaps most famous for its 10,000 to 16,000-strong breeding colony of Manx shearwaters. Gannets, razorbills and shags are frequently seen, and recent evidence suggests that puffins may also be colonising. Other birds on the reserve include red-legged choughs, oystercatchers, herons, peregrine falcons, wheatears, warblers and little owls. Squill creates hazy blue carpets in early spring, followed by tufts of thrift and thyme and, later on, bell heather and ling. Rarer plants include western clover and small adder’s tongue, and the island has a rich variety of over 350 species of lichen. Atlantic grey seals can be seen in the rocky bays of the island, and a small number breed on Bardsey every year.
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About The area
The county of Gwynedd is home to most of the Snowdonia National Park – including the wettest spot in Britain, an arête running up to Snowdon’s summit that receives an average annual rainfall of 4,473mm. With its mighty peaks, rivers and strong Welsh heritage (it has the highest proportion of Welsh-speakers in all of Wales), it’s always been an extremely popular place to visit and live. The busiest part is around Snowdon; around 750,000 people climb, walk or ride the train to the summit each year.
Also in Gwynedd is the Llyn Peninsula, a remote part of Wales sticking 30 miles out into the Irish Sea. At the base of the peninsula is Porthmadog, a small town linked to Snowdonia by two steam railways – the Welsh Highland Railway and the Ffestiniog Railway. Other popular places are Criccieth, with a castle on its headland overlooking the beach, Pwllheli, and Abersoch and the St Tudwal Islands. Elsewhere, the peninsula is all about wildlife, tranquillity, and ancient sacred sites. Tre’r Ceiri hill fort is an Iron Age settlement set beside the coastal mountain of Yr Eifl, while Bardsey Island, at the tip of the peninsula, was the site of a fifth-century Celtic monastery.
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