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Cemlyn Nature Reserve

Tregele, Anglesey

Location Guide

Cemlyn Bay is a bay on the northwest coast of Anglesey about 3 miles West of Cemaes, and separated from the bay, by a shingle beach, is a lagoon fed by a number of small streams. A weir, at the western end of the beach, regulates the lagoon's water level. The shingle ridge is backed by a grassy headland and is home to a tern colony in the summer and you can find waterfowl here at all times of the year. It is popular both for its scenic qualities and its wildlife, with visitors including local people, holidaymakers, walkers, birdwatchers and naturalists.

The nature reserve is managed by the North Wales Wildlife Trust but the land is part of the Cemlyn Estate, owned by the National Trust and has been leased by the NWWT since 1971. Around the reserve there are also areas of coastal grassland, farmland, scrub, wetland, and both rocky and sandy shore encircling Cemlyn Bay.

The reserve includes the large lagoon, separated from the sea by a naturally created shingle ridge, known as Esgair Gemlyn. It is formed by the process of longshore drift, its profile changes with the action of the tide and weather. It provides a habitat for coastal plants such as Sea Kale, Sea Campion, Sea Beet, Thrift and Yellow Horned Poppy. Around the edges of the lagoon, saltmarsh plant species such as Sea Aster, Sea Purslane, Danish Scurvygrass and Saltmarsh Oraches.

Within the Lagoon Grey mullet are to be found and it is a popular breeding ground for many migrant birds. On islands at the western end there is an important tern colony, with the only breeding Sandwich Terns in Wales, their numbers here have increased in recent years to around 1,500 pairs, making it the 3rd largest colony in the UK. The tern colony is wardened from May to August, during their breeding season. A viewing platform is provided part way along the ridge, you can see the terns close-up, chasing and diving in courtship displays, incubating eggs, preening and bathing in the lagoon, or calling to their hungry chicks as they come winging in with freshly caught fish.

The Lagoon  Photo from Geograph

Other breeding birds to be found here include:-

  • Arctic Terns - nest on the islands
  • Common Terns - nest on the islands
  • Black-Headed Gull
  • Ringed Plover - nest amongst the pebbles on the shingle ridge
  • Oystercatcher - nest amongst the pebbles on the shingle ridge
  • Shelduck

During the winter months it is home for wintering wildfowl, such as Wigeon, Shoveler and Teal.

Shingle Ridge - National Trust Car Park and the Lagoon on left
Photo by Jeff Buck

The headland of Trwyn Cemlyn is also a top sea watching spot which regular sightings of porpoises, seals and dolphins, as well as the sea birds.

From the NWWT website you can download a National Trust PDF guide, and their own guide which gives you more highlights of what you can enjoy here on a visit.

Looking West

Location: Cemlyn Nature Reserve, nr Tregele, Anglesey

Grid Reference: SH331932 Ceremonial County: Anglesey

Map Link: Multimap

Aerial photo: Multimap

Getting there: Signposted off the A5025 at Tregele, about 2 miles west of the Wylfa Nuclear Power Station.

Access: Parking at both ends of the shingle ridge, there is a footpath that runs the length of the shingle ridge next to the lagoon. The tern viewing area is about half way along. Around an hour either side of the high tide there is no access from one of the car parks.
Website: Own
Other Useful Websites: Wiki    Photos
Postcode: Telephone:
Opening Times: All Year

Charges: FREE

Nearby Locations: Two White Ladies     Skerries Lighthouse
Other Location Pages: Anglesey Coastal Path 
Other Relevant Pages: Anglesey Attractions   Anglesey Attractions Map







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By: Tracey Park Section: Nature Key:
Page Ref: Cemlyn_Nature_Reserve Topic: Nature Reserves  Last Updated: 07/2010


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