Know before you go
Parking informationPark in the village of Morfa Bychan and walk across the golf course, or park in the car park at the end of Beach Road and keep left.
Grazing animalsPonies, summer. Cattle, autumn and winter.
Uneven access through and over sand-dune grassland and through wet woodland.
If accessing the site via the beach, please check tides carefully beforehand. If entering via the north-eastern edge, please be careful whilst crossing the golf course and stick to the public footpath. The on-site paths are narrow and on rough ground.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitSpring / Summer
About the reserve
This reserve is small in size but full of variety. As you walk inland from the shore you can see new habitats being created with each step – over time, in-blown sand has become stabilised by vegetation; eventually even becoming fixed enough for trees to grow. Similarly, as the ground becomes more stable and the influence of salt diminishes, the plant communities change; creating six or seven different recognised habitats within the one reserve. This patchwork allows for a much wider range of species than would be present in just the harsh foredune environment.
Today’s coastal developments mean that complete dune systems are becoming a rarer sight, making Morfa Bychan all the more special. A summer visit is accompanied by the soundtrack of lapping waves, children playing and the attention-grabbing calls and aerial displays of skylark and meadow pipit who nest within the dunes.
Work here is focused on keeping the mixture of habitats healthy and allowing the foredunes to remain dynamic; naturally able to shift and change. Welsh black cattle graze the site in winter to keep the open areas free of scrub, whilst the willow woodland is manually cut to maintain its current position and stop its spread. In each case, the Wildlife Trust aim to prevent these robust plants from encroaching into the newer areas of dune habitat, ensuring that the site’s rare suite of dune environments is not lost.
From the centre of Porthmadog, head South West along the road signposted for Porthmadog golf course and Morfa Bychan. Park in the village and walk across the golf course, past the green-keeper’s shed to the stile in the North East corner of the reserve (SH 548 369). You can also approach the reserve from the shore after parking in the car park at the end of the road signposted to the beach (SH 543 365).