Know before you go
Parking informationOff road car parking near viewing areas
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.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitSummer 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.
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.
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).
You can protect Cemlyn’s future
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.