Anglesey Dunes IPA

Location: Southern tip of the island of Anglesey, off the North Wales coast.

Grid Reference: SH 397 648

Anglesey Dunes IPA has been recognised as one of 165 Important Plant Areas in the UK.

The key features of this IPA are:

  • One of the UK’s most important populations of Shore dock
  • The species richness of stoneworts in coastal dune and sand habitats
  • The species richness of vascular plants in coastal dune and sand habitats
  • One of the best UK examples of threatened habitats of:
    Dunes with creeping willow;
    Very young mobile dunes;
    Fixed dunes;
    Humid dune slacks;
    Shifting dunes along the shoreline
  • About half of the IPA is covered by coniferous planting and the other half consists of sand dunes, saltmarsh and freshwater ponds. The long lines of dunes have formed from sand which was moved inland by storms, tides and the prevailing westerly winds over many centuries and are considered to be one of the best such areas in the U.K. They are a rich mix of damp hollows, grassland and developing dune woodland of willow and birch. Continually shifting, they are to some extent stabilised, primarily by marram grass.

    The valleys between the dunes, known as ‘slacks’, are seasonally flooded and are rich, fertile areas, which in the summer months are carpeted with colourful flowers including pyramidal orchid, marsh orchids, common twayblade, common spotted orchid, the endemic dune helleborine, dwarf adder's tongue, creeping willow, round-leaved wintergreen and the rare and curious-looking yellow bird's-nest.

    Along a small streambed and on damp pond edges the rare shore dock occurs. There is a large population of the nationally scarce liverwort, petalwort, which was first recorded here in 1828. This historical continuity indicates that the site is especially favourable for the survival of this species. The stoneworts present in the dune slacks have been noted for their importance on a European scale and the dunes also support a notable fungus flora. Specially adapted plants like glasswort, sea lavender and sea rush thrive on the saltmarshes and estuary.