Cemlyn Nature Reserve

Cemlyn Nature Reserve_Lin Cummins

Sandwich tern

Sandwich tern_Ashley Cohen

Terns at Cemlyn Nature Reserve

Terns at Cemlyn Nature Reserve


Hare (c) Andrew Parkinson/2020Vision

Grasshopper warbler

Grasshopper warbler © Richard Steel2020VISION

Dolphins breaching_Sarah_Perry

Dolphins breaching_Sarah_Perry

A real wildlife haven with a spectacular seabird colony at its heart. A visit to Cemlyn is filled with possibility – you never know what might turn up!


Isle of Anglesey
LL67 0EA

OS Map Reference

OS Explorer Map 262
A static map of Cemlyn

Know before you go

25 hectares

Entry fee


Parking information

Off road car parking near viewing areas

Grazing animals


Walking trails

Walking the full length of the shingle ridge can be very strenuous and the steep shingle makes it unsuitable for prams and wheelchairs. Between late April and August visitors are asked to walk on the seaward side of the ridge to decrease disturbance to the tern colony. Alternatively easier walks are available around the adjacent headland.


The shingle ridge is inaccessible for wheelchair users and prams, and challenging for those of limited mobility.  The tern colony can, however, be also seen from a bit further away across the lagoon: walk back along the road from the western car park, watching out for any approaching traffic. During the spring-summer breeding season, please obey the wardens and fencing, staying on the seaward side of the ridge to avoid unnecessary disturbance to the birds.


On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

Summer for breeding terns; winter for visiting wildlfowl and waders

About the reserve

Situated on the wild north coast of Anglesey, with its unique, elliptical shingle ridge, Cemlyn is an incredible site to visit. The ridge, known as Esgair Cemlyn, is an important habitat for specialist plant species such as sea kale, sea campion and yellow horned-poppy. Beyond the ridge, the shallow lagoon is an interesting habitat for aquatic species such as the rare spiralled tassleweed; whilst surrounding areas of gorse and grassland provide habitat for a wide range of butterflies and birds. Year round, waders and wildfowl can be seen around the lagoon at the adjacent shorelines. The site is best visited from May through to July when the islands within the lagoon host the nesting colonies of Sandwich, common and Arctic terns. It is the only nesting colony of Sandwich terns in Wales and a true wildlife spectacle – not to be missed!

Please help us!

We need £30,000 to continue to provide wardens for Cemlyn for 2020 and 2021 .  Without 24/7 protection during the breeding season, there is every chance that the colony will fail.

Find out more and donate here

Did you know?
The wildlife at Cemlyn, and the birds in particular, have been monitored by wardens every summer since 1981, providing a fascinating look into our changing coasts.

Cemlyn is on the north coast of Anglesey, to the west of Wylfa Nuclear Power Station. Turn off the A5025 at Tregele. To reach the ‘beach’ (east) car park, follow the road taking a sharp Right at the first fork. To reach the ‘Bryn Aber’ car park (west and closest to the warden’s viewpoint – SH 329 935), continue Left, taking the option to the Right at each subsequent fork. 

Contact us

Environmental designation

Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB)
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)
Special Protection Areas (SPA)


Cemlyn Nature Reserve infographic

Virtual tour

Discover what makes Cemlyn Nature Reserve such a great place for terns and what we're doing to help them make it their home! Take a virtual tour with our interactive infographic (with thanks to the Roseate Tern LIFE project).

Virtual tour

You can protect Cemlyn’s future

Please support our appeal today.
Type of donation

Tern Identification Guide

Cemlyn Nature Reserve holds one of the largest tern colonies in the UK. This guide is designed to help identify the main species likely to be seen here in the Summer months.

Download guide

Reserve map and guide


Terns at NWWT Cemlyn nature reserve © Nia Haf Jones

Grey seal - Alexander Mustard 2020Vision


Find out more

Support Us

Join today!

Young woman birdwatching at Rutland Water
From £2.50 a month

Individual membership

Individual membership for one person
Couple birdwatching with dog
From £3.00 a month

Joint membership

Joint membership for two people
Family walking though bluebells
From £3.50 a month

Family membership

Family membership with extras for kids