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Project aims to give sand dunes a golden future

A new two-year project is underway to preserve and enhance the two remaining sand dune landscapes that fringe Bridgend County Borough’s coastline.

Once joined together as part of one massive belt of sand that ran all the way from the Ogmore Estuary to the Gower Peninsula, the sand dunes found at Kenfig and Merthyr Mawr Warren are now separated by Porthcawl, two golf courses and established farmland.

Led by Bridgend County Borough Council, the ‘Dunes 2 Dunes – Sustainable Management of Bridgend Coastal Landscape’ project will involve increasing biodiversity, improving habitats, restoring some paths and boundaries, and educating visitors.

The project has been backed by £312,541 of funding from the Sustainable Management Scheme via the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme.

Sand dunes are listed as one of the habitats most at risk in Europe, with many becoming smothered by thick vegetation and invasive scrub in recent decades.

We are grateful to receive this additional funding which will enable us to carry out even more conservation work at Kenfig National Nature Reserve to help the dunes remain as shifting sandy habitats with a mixture of open sand, pools of water and varied vegetation so that rare species can thrive.

It’s incredible to think that Merthyr Mawr contains the second largest sand dune in Europe, second only to the Dune of Pilat on France’s west coast. We must protect this wonderful landscape for future generations so another important element of this project will be to create a formal collaboration between the landowners, nature reserve managers, golf clubs and farmers that all have a stake in this enthralling part of the Welsh coastline.

Councillor Charles Smith, the council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Education

Councillor Smith added: “We want to attract more visitors, and also improve their experience when they walk among the dunes by providing better pathways and signage, but we also want visitors to be well informed about the importance of these fascinating ecosystems so that they are more responsible and play a part in the dunes’ conservation.”

The Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

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