The Wales Coast Path passes through a range of
diverse habitats, and provides a vantage point to look for many
interesting species, from rare birds and beautiful butterflies to
playful seals or passing porpoises.
Many of these habitats are managed and conserved by
The Wildlife Trust Wales. Find out here where you can
find their sites along the Wales Coast Path and find out what you
might see on your travels. (This information is also available with
a map in the resource section below.)
Don't forget, to contact your local Wildlife Trust if you are
out for a walk and spot any interesting wildlife.
North Wales Wildlife Trust Reserves - 01248 351541
Big Pool Wood Reed Warbler
Dominated by common reed, this reserve is an important habitat
for breeding reed warblers. Surrounding the pool is wet woodland
predominantly of alder and contains several locally rare plants
including giant bellflower. From the path, first walk into
Presthaven Sands Holiday Park, and then towards the Bridlewood
Riding Centre and Shop, Big Pool Wood is just behind the riding
With spectacular views, Rhiwledyn reserve forms part of the
Little Orme SSSI. Look out for limestone grassland and its
associated flowers such as quaking grass, dropwort and carline
thistle. Birds such as fulmar can be seen regularly, and the
reserve is rich with butterflies in the right weather
The path itself follows the boundary of the reserve, along
Marine Drive on the Great Orme. Although not suitable for walking
through, look down over the reserve from the path. Gogarth is a
reserve dominated by limestone grassland and best seen in late
spring/ summer. Gogarth is particularly rich in silver studded blue
butterflies in late spring.
Aberogwen, Spinnies Kingfisher
This popular reserve is primarily a lagoon set amid a small
woodland, providing shelter for many species of wader and wildfowl.
It is adjacent to Afon Ogwen estuary and the extensive mudflats of
the internationally important Traeth Lafan. Over 185 species of
bird have been seen in and around the reserve.
Lying alongside the Menai Strait, Nantporth is an example of
coastal ash woodland; which is rare outside of Scotland. The
reserve includes the shingle shoreline, two old limestone quarries
and areas of calcareous grassland.
The path skirts around this nature reserve, making a slight
detour well worth it. Mariandyrys is a limestone outcrop supporting
herb-rich grassland, heathland and gorse scrub which in turn
supports a wide range of wildlife, including orchids, purple
saw-wort and stonechat.
Undoubtedly one of the best coastal reserves Cemlyn is a lagoon
cut off from the sea by a curved shingle ridge. The ridge itself
supports a range of specialist maritime plants whilst islands in
the lagoon provide summer nesting areas for a large colony of
sandwich, common and Arctic terns best seen in the summer.
Porth Diana Rock-rose
A short detour from the coastal path at Ravenpoint Road takes
you to this small reserve that overlooks the scenic Trearddur Bay,
this reserve is home to the county flower of Anglesey, the dainty
Morfa Bychan and Greenacres Sharp
This reserve offers the chance to see rare maritime plants in a
dynamic sand dune system. Separated by Greenacres Caravan Park,
these reserves can be reached via a detour over the sand dunes at
either Black Rock Sands or Ynys Cyngar.
Traeth Glaslyn Wigeon
Traeth Glaslyn is an important estuarine site for wetland birds,
with habitats that range from mudflats, marshes and wet grassland
to alder carr. There is a viewing hide just off the path at the
eastern end of the Cob near Rebecca Toll.
Gwaith Powdwr Nightjar
A slight detour from the path takes you to this reserve, which
is worth a visit. Gwaith Powdwr is the former site of the
Cooke’s/ICI explosives works and an example of how wildlife can
thrive in a post-industrial setting. This wildlife haven is home to
bats, nightjars, polecat and emperor dragonfly.
Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust Reserves - 01938 555654
Cors Dyfi Osprey
Home to ospreys, otters, bog myrtle, dormice, readbeds, warblers
and so much more. From March to September, see ospreys rear their
young with HD cameras on the nest relaying to monitors in the
visitor centre and hide.
Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales Reserves - 01656
Penderi Cliffs Chough
Stretching along the sea cliff, the hanging oak woodland in this
reserve is home to some stunted but very old oak trees. It is a
great place to spot chough and other coastal birds such as
Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre
(Visitor Centre) Bottlenose Dolphin
This popular New Quay visitor centre runs in conjunction with
Dolphin Survey Boat Trips to collect data on the bottlenose
dolphins of Cardigan Bay and other marine mammals that are
regularly spotted, such as harbour porpoise and Atlantic grey
seals, and more unusual species such as basking sharks and sunfish.
The visitor centre is open throughout the summer season.
Cardigan Island Seals
Although there is no public access to Cardigan Island, the coast
path offers great views onto this Wildlife Trust reserve. The
Island is a key breeding site for grey seal and hosts breeding
colonies of gulls, razorbill, guillemot and many other
Cemaes Head Porpoise
The coast path traverses this coastal headland that looks across
the Teifi Estuary towards Cardigan Island. As well as being a good
seabird site, Cemaes Head is a great place to watch for the
bottlenose dolphins and porpoises in Cardigan Bay.
Goodwick Moor Reed warbler
Just across the road from the coastal path, this reserve has a
circular path and boardwalk. The site is a large reedbed with
elements of flood plain mire and wet woodland, supporting breeding
birds such as reed and sedge warblers.
Lockley Lodge (Visitor
Acting as the ticket sales point for day trips to Skomer,
Lockley Lodge also includes a shop, remote camera access to Skomer,
local wildlife information and much more.
Skomer Island Puffin
Skomer Island is the most important seabird site in southern
Britain. Although not formally part of the coastal path it can be
visited every day (excluding Mondays) during the summer season.
Home to manx shearwater, puffin, guillemot, kittiwake, razorbill,
fulmar and much more, this is one of the Wildlife Trusts flagship
Skokholm Island Manx
Skokholm, sister island to Skomer, lies further out to sea.
Together the two islands make up the highest concentration of manx
shearwaters known in the world, with an estimated 45,000 pairs on
Skokholm. Visits by pre-arrangement only.
Deborah’s Hole Ravens
This nature reserve is named after a small inaccessible cave
where Stone Age tools have been excavated. The topography of the
site has created varying vegetation from limestone grassland to
heath, supporting nesting fulmar and raven.
Long Hole Cliff Stonechat
Cliff top gorse and heather habitats create a haven for small
birds, whilst the slopes, cliffs and scree are home to limestone
grassland. The star like flowering spring squill make a special
display early in the year.
Overton Mere Wild plants
This nature reserve is home to the rare silky wave moth which
makes its home in the gorse scrub. It is also a great place to spot
lime-loving plants such as common rock-rose, milkwort, eyebright
Overton Cliff Oystercatcher
The site offers great views over the Bristol Channel, and is
home to coastal birds such as oystercatcher and butterflies such as
grayling. Much of Overton Cliff is currently covered by heather and
gorse, together with hawthorn, blackthorn and juniper.
Port Eynon Point Gannet
A great place to see coastal summer flowers such as sea campion,
spring squill, thrift and wild clary. This is also a great nature
reserve for sea watching, and patient birders will be rewarded with
views of divers in the winter, and in the late summer, manx
shearwater, gannet and common scoter.
Sedger’s Bank Rock pools
This nature reserve comprises rocky foreshore, beach, and relict
sand dune grassland adjacent to Port Eynon Point. Seals haul out
here amongst the limestone rocks covered with barnacles, whelks,
mussels and beadlet anemones.
Redley Cliff Yellowhammer
Caswell Cliff Fort, a Scheduled Ancient Monument, sits at the
summit of this coastal limestone headland, with ditches and banks
still visible. Much of the reserve is woodland and scrub and it
supports many small birds such as stonechat and yellowhammer.
Cwm Colhuw Peregrine
1km southwest of Llantwit Major, this nature reserve includes
coastal calcareous grassland and ash woodland. The site is a great
place to spot kestrel and peregrine, and the nationally scarce wild
cabbage grows here.
Lavernock Point Orchids
Easily accessed from Cardiff and Barry, this beautiful nature
reserve is a diverse mixture of coastal habitats lying on Jurassic
limestone. The meadows are rich in wildflowers including several
orchids, such as early purple, bee and spotted orchids and
Gwent Wildlife Trust Reserves - 01600 740600
Peterstone Wentlooge Marshes
This coastal reserve offers excellent views of the tidal
mudflats and saltmarsh, making it a good site for bird watching.
The area is important during the spring and autumn migration of
waders, whilst offering a sanctuary for large numbers of birds in
Solutia Meadows Otter
This species-rich grazing marsh supports birds such as reed
bunting and sedge warbler, as well as otters, rare plants and the
endangered shrill carder bee. Although not adjacent to the Severn
Estuary, the coastal path passes through the reserve after a short
inland detour through Newport.
Magor Marsh (Visitor Centre)
From a fleeting glimpse of a kingfisher, to the sight of
colourful dragonflies darting over the reens, this natural area of
fenland is an inspiring place to visit. Walk inland towards the
village of Magor, head north on the tracks at Magor Pill, then
continue north for 1km along the Whitewall road until you reach the
reserve on your left hand side.
Wildlife Trust Reserves Size (2 MB)
- This map provides a guide to Wildlife Trusts Reserves that can be found along the path to help you see the best of Welsh wildlife along the way.