Posted: Sun 9th Jun 2024

Flintshire Coastal Rangers enhance Talacre dunes for rare lizards

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales


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Flintshire’s Coastal Ranger team is working in collaboration with various partner organisations to enhance the sand dunes at Talacre, creating a thriving habitat for one of the UK’s rarest reptiles—the sand lizard.

This initiative involves cooperation with landowners and student placements from Chester University, Llysfasi College, and Coleg Cambria.

The sand lizard, which was once extinct in Wales, now finds refuge in the Talacre sand dunes thanks to a successful reintroduction programme.

To improve the habitat, the team has been engaging in ‘sand patching,’ where vegetation is cleared to create bare patches of sand.

This process involves using both spades and mini-diggers, with additional manual efforts from students to reach areas inaccessible to machinery.

These sand patches are essential for the lizards, providing a mix of bare sand and cover.

The lizards bask in the open sand to warm their bodies while staying close to the edges for quick access to cover.

The patches are typically a metre wide and a few metres long, offering plenty of basking and hiding spots for the reptiles.

Neil Ankers, General Manager at Presthaven Beach Resort, highlighted the significance of these efforts, stating, “Presthaven Beach Resort employs a dunes ranger who works in partnership with Flintshire County Council and NRW to manage the sand dunes system. This includes protecting and preserving rare species such as the sand lizards and Natterjack Toads. This is very important to us, and allows us to play our part in protecting this site of specific scientific interest for everyone to enjoy now and for many years to come.”

This project is supported by a longstanding partnership with Bourne Leisure, where Flintshire’s Coastal Ranger Team provides guidance on the dune management.

Additionally, partnerships with Chester University, Llysfasi College, and Coleg Cambria offer valuable learning and training opportunities within the countryside sector, further supporting the conservation efforts.

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