Local Nature Reserves
Gwynedd Nature Reserves spread across 1700 hectares of land, which protects important habitats and species. All these sites are managed in partnership with Natural Resources Wales, RSPB Cymru, a number of town or community councils and other community groups.
(Abergwyngregyn beach - following the brown signs from junction 13 on the A55)
There is a public bird hide, where you can sit and relax whilst watching flocks of curlew, widgeon, and ducks. If you're lucky, you might also catch a glimpse of the kingfisher or otters as the feed in the fresh water pools.
(9.5 kilometres of beach between Bangor and Llanfairfechan)
A mix of shoreline habitats, and approximately 2,500 hectares of intertidal sand and mud flats which are exposed at low tide. A number of conservational designation including Site of Special Scientific Interest, Special Protection Area, and Special Area of Conservation. An important areas for a number of species, including moulting great crested grebes, oyster catchers, red breasted mergansers and golden eye.
(follow the coastal path for a mile to the west from the promenade at Llanfairfechan, junction 15 on the A55).
A mixture of primarily wetland habitats – woodland, coastal pasture, fresh water pools and reed beds. Three bird watching hides where a variety of birds can be spotted.
(Situated to the south-west of Caernarfon – follow brown signs for the A487 just south of Caernarfon, or from the A499 near Llandwrog)
Y Foryd is a partially enclosed intertidal bay on the Menai Strait – at low tide, 250 hectares of sand and mud habitats can be seen, which are important feeding habitats for a number of native and migratory bird species, such as shell ducks, waders, oyster catchers, curlews, lapwing and large flocks of over 5,000 widgeon.
(SH 527 585 – along the A4085 just to the south of Waunfawr)
A mixed woodland that's full of hidden wildlife resting on the lower sheltered slopes of Moel Smytho. You can walk amongst native species of hidden birds, plants and animals – some uncommon such as the pied flycatcher which travels all the way from Africa to nest. Located on the lower part of the reserve is a small circular walk near the car park and picnic area. There is a 1 km circular path around the rest of the woodland, which in some parts is rather steep, and can be wet under foot at certain times of the year.
Lôn Cob Bach
(access by the council offices on Embankment Road (SH 376 345), or from the car park on Lôn Cob Bach (SH 371 345))
The nature reserve is situated right in the middle of the historic town of Pwllheli. The present landscape was formed by draining large tracts of land from the estuary of the Rhydhir river, when the Cob embankment was built in the eighteenth century. The town expanded to cover most of the best reclaimed land, leaving behind wet pasture and salt marsh to the south of Lôn Cob Bach. To the north of the road, lies an area of intertidal mud and reed beds known as the Backwater – an important habitat for a number of different species such as the kingfisher and otter.
Pen y Banc
(south-east of Porth y Gest village)
Coastal rocks, secluded sandy coves and mixed woodland. It is a popular site for families in the summer. A number of birds can be seen in the estuary – the curlew, redshank and black-necked grebe during the winter, and large flocks of sandwich terns can be seen in summer. In the mild climate, a variety of vegetation can be seen, ranging from coastal heath species such as gorse and heather, through to blackthorn, crab apple and birch and oak. There are a number of paths through the reserve, including the coastal path. You can gain access by the village church (SH 565 373), just south of the car park by the harbour.
Parc y Borth
(via a public footpath which starts by the road side in the bay at Borth y Gest (SH 565 377), or along another public footpath on Morfa Bychan Road (SH 560 378))
Parc y Borth is situated high on a hillside above the sheltered bay at Borth y Gest and contains both oak woodland and wild flower meadows. The park has an extensive network of wooded paths which will lead you to the top of the hill, from where you can take in the views of the Glaslyn and Dwyryd estuaries, and round south to west past Harlech and Cricieth castles, and to the Llŷn Peninsula. For children there is also a way-finding course – which is available in the village shop. In May, you might catch a glimpse of the pied fly catcher which nests here, or hear the drilling of the woodpecker.