Harlech Beach & Dunes

Book Tickets Online

About

Morfa Harlech is one of two extensive sand dune systems which make up much of the southern Snowdonia coastline, extending from the Mawddach estuary in the south to Black Rock Sands in the north west.

Morfa Harlech sand dunes structures are arguably the most dynamic form of natural habitat in the world. The coastal walk through the reserve is a dramatic and spectacular sweep of untouched golden sand.

At first sight this might appear to be uninteresting as a National Nature Reserve - little but rolling sand dunes covered in marram grass. But it is a genuinely wild place, created by and changing with the forces of nature, not of humans. The dunes here are actively growing with a constant supply of sand being blown inland from the north of Barmouth Bay. The sand accumulates there, having been deposited by the rivers that had washed it down from the mountains of Snowdonia. The land here is rising, not only from accumulation of sand, but because the north west of Britain is gradually rising. When Harlech Castle was built in 1274 it was right on the seashore!

Dunes grow first with sand building up around some obstruction such as seaweed or debris on the shore. Once the embryo dune starts growing, specially adapted plants like marram grass can take hold. This grass is deep rooted and can grow rapidly to keep pace with sand that might smother it.

Further inland the dunes become more vegetated. Other grasses and a variety of plants adapted to the special conditions of vey dry soil and salty atmosphere grow on them.

Morfa Harlech is also a good place for birdwatching, especially in winter when you might see whooper swans and large flocks of wigeon and mallard. Hundreds of curlew and oystercatcher also congregate on the mudflats to the north.

Book Tickets

Facilities

Children

  • Children welcome

Parking

  • Parking with charge

Property Facilities

  • Dogs Accepted

Map & Directions

Road Directions

The reserve lies west of Harlech on the A496 road between Barmouth and Maentwrog and the turn for Morfa Harlech is almost opposite Harlech Castle. The pay-and-display car park, is at the end of the road and it is just a short walk along a path to the sand dunes and beach.

Public Transport Directions

The nearest mainline railway station is Harlech.

Morfa Harlech Nature Reserve (NRW)

Type:Nature Reserve

Harlech, Gwynedd, LL46 2UR

Add Morfa Harlech Nature Reserve (NRW) to your Itinerary

Close window

Call direct on:

Tel0300 065 3000

Related

Afan Forest Park (NRW), Port TalbotThe Afan Valley is one of the narrowest, shortest, and most beautiful valleys in Wales, being about 15 miles long from its head at Bwlch yr Afan, to the sea at Aberavon Beach, Port Talbot.

Harlech town & castleHarlech, HarlechHarlech is a historic town on the Snowdonia coast which has fantastic beaches, Royal St David's - one of Wales' finest golf courses and Harlech Castle which a World heritage site.

Image Credit: SWAPCwmcarn Forest (NRW), Newport CityCwmcarn Forest offers something for all the family. Spectacular 7 mile forest drive set amongst rolling hills and green forests with 7 car parks to stop at. The visitor centre provides a place to stock up on refreshments and gifts.

Brecon Beacons | Craig CerrigCraig Cerrig Gleisiad & Fan Frynych (NRW), BreconCraig Cerrig-gleisiad and Fan Frynych National Nature Reserve is a 156 acre (631,000 m²) area of the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Rheidol ValleyCoed Rheidol Nature Reserve (NRW), Devil's BridgeCoed Rheidol is situated about 12 miles east of Aberystwyth. It occupies parts of both banks of the Afon Rheidol, upstream, and the south bank downstream of Devil's Bridge.

Crychan Forest and Halfway ForestCrychan Forest (NRW), Llangammarch WellsThe Crychan & Halfway Forest is set in beautiful countryside nestling between the Brecon Beacons & the Cambrian Mountains. Miles of waymarked trails for horse riding, cycling and walking take you through tranquil gorges, along old drover's routes & past cascading waterfalls.

Coed y Brenin Forest ParkCoed y Brenin Visitor Centre (NRW), DolgellauCoed y Brenin Visitor Centre is in the heart of southern Snowdonia near Dolgellau, is the gateway to Coed y Brenin Forest Park. Try world-class mountain bike trails, family walks, café, cycle shop, all-ability play area and an easy access trail.

Glyndwr's Way | Pererindod MelangellDyfnant & Vyrnwy Forests (NRW), Lake VyrnwyDyfnant and Vyrnwy Forests in north Powys which is renowned for rolling hills, lush green valleys and picturesque farmsteads and villages. The Forest caters for horse riding and carriage driving as well as walking and picnic areas.

Dyfi Forest - Nant GwernolDyfi Forest (NRW), MachynllethThe Dyfi Forest is located mainly to the north of the Afon Dyfi between Dolgellau to the north and Machynlleth to the south. Dyfi is a 6000ha forest - a spectacular landscape well worth exploring.

Gwydir Forest Park (NRW), Betws-y-CoedGwydir Forest ranges across the hills on Snowdonia's eastern flank. High wooded ramparts rise steeply from the level pastures of the Conwy valley, enfolding Betws-y-Coed, and creating a dramatic setting for the town of Llanrwst

LLyn GeirionnyddGwydir Forest Park | Llyn Geirionnydd (NRW), LlanrwstIn the northern section of the Gwydir Forest Park, Llyn Geirionnydd is a 0.75 mile long lake is reputedly the home of the 6th century poet Taliesin.

Alwen Reservoir | Llyn Brenig (NRW), RuthinAlwen Trail can be started from Alwen Dam in Alwen which is part of Hiraethog Forest.

Minwear Forest (NRW), NarberthTogether with nearby Canaston Wood, Minwear has been thickly wooded for centuries.

Wye Valley Woodlands (NRW), MonmouthThe Wye Valley is recognised as one of the most beautiful woodlands in Britain, with most of it’s 4,300 hectares lying within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Whitestone (NRW), ChepstowWhitestone lies adjacent to a section of the famous Wye Valley Walk. Visitors to the site can enjoy pleasant walks that take in a number of fantastic views across the Wye Valley

Fforest Fawr near CardiffFforest Fawr (NRW), CardiffA beautiful mainly broadleaved woodland which is very accessible from Cardiff City. Excellent recreation facilities with many different trails within. Close to Castell Coch The OS grid reference is ST 143 838.

Abergorlech Forest Garden Brechfa - NRWBrechfa Forest (NRW), LlandoveryThe famous Brechfa Forest is managed by Natural Resources Wales for the benefit of people, wildlife, recreation and timber production.

Ceri Forest - NRWCeri Forest (NRW), NewtownCeri Forest is a coniferous forest which sits astride the Kerry Ridgeway in the uplands of Montgomeryshire.

Newborough ForestNewborough Forest (NRW), NewboroughNewborough Forest is a great place to relax in. With waymarked trails to explore and wildlife to discover. It is a small forest of mainly corsican pine planted on Newborough Warren sand dunes.

Moel Famau Country Park (NRW), MoldMoel Famau Country Park, 2000 acres of important upland landscape, and forms part of the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding natural Beauty (AONB).

Clocaenog Forest (NRW), RuthinThis large forest lies to the north of the B5105 on the Hiraethog Moors. It has some of the best and most well managed coniferous plantations in Wales. It has hundreds of hectares of forest over 50 years old.

Nature /Walking TrailsNewport Wetlands Nature Reserve (NRW), Newport CityNewport Wetlands is a partnership between Natural Resources Wales, Newport City Council and the RSPB. This nature reserve offers a haven for wildlife on the edge of the city.

Oxwich Nature Reserve (NRW), SwanseaOxwich supports a huge variety of wildlife and is protected as the Oxwich Bay SSSI and the Gower Ash Woodlands SAC.It has a mosaic of different habitats including dune slacks and limestone cliffs.

Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) near summitYr Wyddfa (Snowdon) National Nature Reserve (NRW), LlanberisThe Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) National Nature Reserve covers a massive 1,671 hectares, and it is home to arctic plants that have survived there since the end of the last glaciation approximately 12,000 years ago.

Cwm Idwal National Nature Reserve (NRW), LlanberisCwm Idwal was the first officially recognised National Nature Reserve in Wales; it was given this status by the Nature Conservancy Council in 1954. Along with Cadair Idris, Cwm Idwal was a favourite haunt of Charles Darwin.

Coedydd Aber Nature Reserve (NRW), ConwyThe main attraction for visitors to Coedydd Aber has long been the reserve’s spectacular waterfall, but the valley is home to a diverse range of habitats, from mixed woodland to grassland.

Hafren ForestHafren Forest (NRW), LlanidloesChoice of walking trails along the River Severn which flows through Hafren Forest. Trails go to waterfalls and the source of the Severn on Pumlumon. Riverside accessible trail with viewing platform over cascades. Picnic area and toilets.

Morfa DyffrynMorfa Dyffryn Nature Reserve (NRW), Dyffryn ArdudwyThe spectacular Morfa Dyffryn Reserve stretches for about 4.5 miles along the coast of Cardigan Bay from Afon Ysgethin in the south to Afon Artro in the north.

Coed y Brenin Forest Park (NRW), DolgellauCoed y Brenin Forest Park is set in Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park near Dolgellau and forms part of the National Forest for Wales. There are many walking trails from various car parks within the Coed y Brenin forest park where you can see waterfalls, ruins of a copper mine and have accessible…

Coed y Brenin CafeCoed y Brenin Visitor Centre | Meetings & Conferences (NRW), DolgellauCoed y Brenin visitor centre near Dolgellau, is the gateway to Coed y Brenin Forest Park. Try world-class mountain bike trails, family walks, café, cycle shop, all-ability play area and an easy access trail.

What's Nearby

  1. Explore the magnificent castle of Edward I at Harlech - which is inscribed on the World…

    0.18 miles away
  2. This 120 acre reserve is a fine example of Ancient Woodland, with a rich flora of mosses,…

    0.44 miles away
  3. Harlech beach is an ideal place for children to play and an even better spot for adults…

    0.71 miles away
  4. Llanfair Caverns & Farm Park

    Slate mine tourist attraction and childrens farm park, play area, nature trail, shop and…

    1.34 miles away
  1. Llandanwg Beach

    Llandanwg beach is just south of Harlech; the village is famous for its church which…

    1.72 miles away
  2. Shell Island is a peninsula, which becomes an island at high tide and is situated near…

    3.26 miles away
  3. Situated on its own peninsula in Southern Snowdonia, Portmeirion is a sight to behold,…

    3.88 miles away
  4. Morfa Bychan (Black Rock Sands)

    A long and sandy bay backed by sand dunes at the northern edge of the mouth of Tremadog…

    4.06 miles away
  5. The Ffestiniog Railway in the heart of the Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park is the oldest…

    4.6 miles away
  6. The Snowdonia National Park is a special part of the country where visitors come to relax…

    4.98 miles away
  7. Neolithic tomb comprising two chambers of different phases, originally covered by a stone…

    5.08 miles away
  8. The WHHR is a small, friendly railway where the train ride is just part of the experience…

    5.11 miles away
  9. Dyffryn (Llanendwyn) Beach

    Dyffryn (Llanendwyn) is a long sandy beach backed by an extensive sand dune system…

    5.18 miles away
  10. The spectacular Morfa Dyffryn Reserve stretches for about 4.5 miles along the coast of…

    5.18 miles away
  11. Tal-y-bont Beach/Bennar Beach

    To the north of Barmouth near Tal-y-bont, Bennar's fine, sandy beach is backed by the…

    5.85 miles away
  12. Gwaith Powdwr Reserve

    Gwaith Powdwr is a decommissioned explosive works, which was taken over by the North…

    6.05 miles away
Previous Next

Don't Miss

Don't Miss

Don't Miss