Kenfig National Nature Reserve is one of Bridgend County Borough Council’s dedicated National Nature Reserve (NNR) sites. It is also designated as a Special Area of Conservation and it’s one of the area’s major biodiversity resources. Kenfig NNR supports a variety of species and includes habitats identified within the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) and Bridgend Local BAP.
Kenfig Nature Reserve is one of the UK’s most important wildlife conservation sites and it’s a great place for walkers, birdwatchers, photographers and families to explore. A remnant of a huge undulating sand dune system that once stretched from the Ogmore estuary to the Gower Peninsular, the reserve supports one of the finest wildlife habitats in Wales and it has gained international recognition for its success in nurturing rare species. The largest body of natural standing water in South Wales can also be found at Kenfig NNR. Known as Kenfig Pool, the lake is set on the edge of this picturesque reserve, with breathtaking views from Sker beach across to Swansea Bay. The Information Centre at the entrance to the reserve has an excellent interactive exhibition as well as a shop and information section with advice to help you get the most out of your visit. Wardens are often on site to answer any questions you may have. If you’re interested in birdwatching, take a stroll along the boardwalk and visit the bird-hides overlooking the pool . From here you can observe the movement of the birds on the lake and take in the beautiful scenery. If you’re visiting the area with children, you may want to explore the reserve and Kenfig using the ‘Tales and Trails’ resources. They’ve been developed around a charming collection of children’s tales based on the stories and legends associated with the community. The tales are available to read and as an audio experience. Follow the short trail around Kenfig to explore some of the interesting places in the village and encourage children to use the activity sheets (suitable for ages 6 to 11). The tales, audio, maps and activity sheets are available to download free of charge. Please use the link below and click ‘Kenfig’ in the menu to the right of the page. www.bridgendsheritage.co.uk/our-past/children's-heritage.aspx
What will I find? The system of sand dunes and Glamorgan’s largest lake provides a habitat famed for its plant life, birds and insects. Visitors will find rare and endangered species and it’s one of the few places in Britain where keen birdwatchers can spot the Bittern during winter months. The dunes support around 550 species of flowering plant (a third of the total in Wales). One of these plants is the rare Fen Orchid and for an amazing statistic, 90% of the UK Fen Orchid population is found at Kenfig. Kenfig Pool is a major resource for wildfowl and the reed beds surrounding it provide habitats for a great number of species including Cetti’s Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler and Water Rail. The pool also supports medicinal leech and it is only one of a few sites in South Wales with a Biodiversity Action Plan for this species. More natural history infromation can be found here.
Trail information Path: Undulating natural paths that veer through sand and grassy areas. Muddy and uneven in sections.
Look out for… I grow here Fen Orchid I live here Blue Tit Kingfisher Mute Swan Heron Mallard Whitethroat Magpie Bittern Grasshopper Warbler Water Rail Cetti’s Warbler Great Crested Newt Daubenton’s Bat Common Lizard If you’re exploring Kenfig National Nature Reserve and you spot these or other species, please take a photograph or let us know.
Family Activity packs.. If you are planning on visiting Kenfig National Nature Reserve a family activity pack has been developed as part of the Bridgend Outdoor Schools Project to encourage and help families to explore the outdoors and develop learning skills at the same time.
The activities will will a welcome addition for any trip to kenfig for families. Also don't forget to try out the Geocaching with five ‘Bridgend Outdoor Schools’ (BOS) geocaches hidden around Kenfig National Nature Reserve. This will help you explore the reserve and appreciate the various wildlife on offer.
Meet the Keeper As you’re exploring Kenfig National Nature Reserve, look out for the Keeper of the Dunes.
To find out more about her story, and the plants and wildlife she protects, please visit: I am the Dunes, their story I have kept for I am the Keeper but long have I slept look around you now, as I wake look at my world as it changes day by day here there is the end of the sea, the start of the land here all is connected from the turning of the tides to the shifting of the sands here, all is one, I am the dunes
Add a bit of history Kenfig is one of those places that can keep history buff’s occupied for days! Here are some key points that will hopefully add value to your visit: Kenfig Castle and Medieval Town The once prominent Medieval town of Kenfig is now almost entirely covered in the sand, which began to encroach during the 15th century. The remains of Kenfig Castle rise majestically above the dunes. It was established by the conquering Normans in the early 12th century. Kenfig was an important military and commercial town, controlled by the Normans. It was viewed as a threat by the Welsh and the castle and town endured regular and devastating attacks. Records show that the castle was attacked in the 13th century by Llywelyn the Last, prince of Wales and grandson of Llywelyn the Great. Visitors wanting to find out more about the castle and Medieval town can bring the story of the site to life using innovative digital technology. For further information, please visit: www.digitalbridgend.co.uk
The Legend of Kenfig Pool The tranquil landscape of Kenfig Nature Reserve and Kenfig Pool provides the setting for some sinister legends! In former times, people were convinced that the lake was bottomless; other people were certain that its depths were home to an enchanted underwater city. Beware of falling into the ‘Black Gutter’ – its whirlpools have been known to pull people to their death! Visitors can ask about the legend of the ‘vengeance of the 9th generation’ in the reserve’s Interpretation Centre. The Maid of Sker Sker House is a restored, grand late 16th and 17th century mansion, built on the remains of a Medieval monastic grange. It’s famous for providing the inspiration for the three-volume novel by R. D. Blackmore, The Maid of Sker. The novel traces the story of Davy Llewelyn, a fisherman who discovers a two-year-old girl washed ashore, who is adopted by a well-to-do family. But this Maid of Sker has little to do with the local legend, which tells of forbidden love between the harpist Thomas Evans and Elizabeth, the daughter of Isaac Williams of Sker House. Elizabeth’s father forced her to marry a man more suited to her status, and the story goes that both Thomas and Elizabeth spent the rest of their lives pining for each other! Visitors can explore the various Maid of Sker legends online by visiting: www.bridgendsheritage.co.uk Kenfig’s Ancient Footprints Uncovered by an outgoing tide in 2007, between Gwely’r Misgl and Sker Point, are the well-preserved footprints that were made by at least two adults and a child at least 4500 years ago! Samtampa Shipwreck Memorial On 23rd April 1947, the cargo steamship S.S. Samtampa was wrecked on the rocks off Sker Point, having been grasped by hurricane winds. The entire crew of 39 perished, together with the eight volunteer crewmen of Mumbles RNLI Lifeboat who had valiantly attempted to rescue them. A memorial plaque commemorating the tragedy is set into the rocks at Sker Point. A Pint of Myths and Legends at the Prince of Wales Inn An inn was established here perhaps as early as the 15th century, though it was rebuilt in 1808. The inn was renamed in the late 18th century in honour of the future King George IV. The first floor of the inn is the former town hall, a long room that has been used for holding courts, setting regulations and a host of community functions for centuries. Visitors can immerse themselves in the tales and legends associated with the Prince of Wales Inn using the latest digital technologies. A series of six short films starring Owen Teale explores the history of the inn and local area, with tales of ghosts and shipwrecks. Inside the pub, visitors can watch the films by using the digital kiosk, and they can download information to their smartphones. For further information please visit: www.bridgendsheritage.co.uk/our-past/a-pint-of-myths-and-legends
Where is Kenfig National Nature Reserve? Kenfig National Nature Reserve is situated in Bridgend county, to the west of Porthcawl. If you are using Sat Nav to find Kenfig NNR, please use postcode: CF33 4PT
Access Kenfig National Nature Reserve can be reached from Junction 37 of the M4 Motorway. It is signposted from North Cornelly, Pyle and Porthcawl.
Parking A free car park is available at the entrance to the reserve.
24 March 2019:20:21 - 24 March 2019:20:21
Many rare plants and insects have been driven to the brink of extinction and important habitats have been lost as the sand dunes had become increasingly stable and overgrown by vegetation.
This video explains the important dune rejuvenation work being undertaken at Kenfig NNR and it’s not just the wildlife that will benefit, as naturally mobile sand dunes provide a more dynamic coastal defence system which can adapt to storms and rising sea levels.