Kenfig Pool and Dunes National Nature Reserve
The Kenfig Pool and Dunes NNR is one of Wales top sand dune reserves, with special plants, birds and insects that depend on this type of habitat. On the edge of the reserve is Kenfig Pool, Glamorgan’s largest lake, but most of the reserve consists of a large expanse of sand dunes, with lovely views across Swansea Bay to the Gower. Among the many beautiful wildflowers, Kenfig is also home to several orchids, notably the pyramidal, fragrant, bee, early purple, common spotted, early marsh, marsh and broad-leaved helleborine. More than 90 per cent of the British population of fen orchids are found here. The reserve is also a great place to see the wildfowl which visit the 70-acre Kenfig Pool. Winter visitors include several hundred tufted ducks, pochards and coots. Other species present near the lake include mallard, common teal, wigeon, gadwall, scaup, long-tailed duck, goldeneye and smew. Occasionally whooper and Bewick’s swans visit Kenfig Pool, too, and winter is also the time that bitterns take up residence in the reedbeds around the pool.
Also in the area
About the area
The country of Bridgend is home to the town of the same name. Some 22 miles west of Cardiff, one of the commuter town’s most notable feature is Merthyr Mawr, a huge stretch of grassy sand dunes and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), leading down to the sea. Nature lovers will enjoy Merthyr Mawr and its abundance of plants and insect life. The sand dunes are the second highest in Europe, while the areas of dune woodland and scrub provide additional habitats, resulting in increased wildlife diversity. The site is also well known as a place where some nationally rare and unusual fungi species grow.
Further west lies Porthcawl and the first real beach you hit of your way from Cardiff. While it doesn’t match up to the breathtaking beaches further west, it’s sandy and has decent waves for surfing and kite surfing. For those not up for some board action, the town has plenty else for visitors, including a promenade and funfair, and each September it hosts an Elvis Festival, where the whole town dons blue suede shoes and greased-up quiffs in honour of the star.
Places to Stay
Restaurants and Pubs
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