Fantastic Result for Threatened Fen Orchids

Colin Cheesman

Colin Cheesman

Head of Plantlife Cymru

3rd August 2017


Fen Orchid (Liparis loeselii) ©

Great news for fans of orchids and wildflower lovers in general: this years count of Fen Orchid (pictured above) at the Kenfig Important Plant Area in Wales is over 800 plants - the most in twenty years (since 1997) and strong evidence that conservation work is halting its decline.

Fen Orchid is one of many plants that have spent millennia adapting to surviving and colonising the bare, damp sand of sand dunes. Since the 1980s, however, sand dunes up and down our coastline have become static and overgrown due to a perfect storm of natural and human factors. The result for the plants (and many invertebrates) has been catastrophic. Kenfig Burrows is now the only place in Britain in which the dune form of the fen orchid can be found - and even here numbers had dropped from a conservative 21,000 at the end of the 1980s to just 400 when conservation work began.

This result then - effectively a doubling of numbers - is incredibly encouraging news.

Such a result would been impossible without our supporters and members - especially those who donated to our sand dunes appeal - and our sponsors, a generous consortium of Natural Resources Wales (formerly Countryside Council for Wales), Environment Wales, Million Ponds Project/Biffa Award and the Esmeé Fairbairn Foundation, which is supporting Plantlife’s sand dune project overall.


Can you help us save another rare orchid?

Coralroot Orchid is one of many threatened alpine plants our Cairngorms project hopes to save. Funders have offered us £170,000 to do this but only if we can raise another £80,000.

Can you help?