Habitats & Landscape
Coastal Bird Species
Penrhos Coastal Park & Nature Reserve overlooks the sandbanks and mudflats of the Beddmanarch Bay, part of the Beddmanarch & Cymyran Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). These mudflats provide a valuable food source for many wading birds and wildfowl, which come to feed on the molluscs, crustaceans and worms within the mud. During the year you may be able to spot some of our resident bird species:
- Black-Headed Gull.
- Ringed Plover.
Whilst over the winter period we are visited by:
- Brent Geese.
- Red Necked Grebe.
- Great Northern Diver.
- Red Breasted Merganser.
Woodland Tree Species
As you venture along the footpaths throughout the nature reserve you will be taken through areas of established mixed deciduous & coniferous woodland. Some of the tree species you will be able to identify here are:
- Sitka Spruce.
- Grand Fir.
Some of the oldest areas of woodland were originally planted when the area formed part of the Stanley Family's Estate - The Penrhos Woods were planted in 1816 with some 15,000 broad-leaved trees by the Stanley Family.
When compared with the rest of Wales, Anglesey has a relatively low percentage of woodland cover; however Penrhos Coastal Park & Nature Reserve has a variety of woodland habitats to enjoy throughout the year, with wildflowers such as Wild Garlic, Bluebells, Dogs Mercury, Lesser Celandine and Primrose in the Spring; to the colours of the falling leaves and interesting fungi in the Autumn.
The woodlands are home to several species of mammal including Pipistrelle and Daubenton's bat; and our resident Badger's who forage nocturnally in search of earthworms, insect grubs & plant bulbs. Long Tailed Tit, Wren, Chaffinch & Robins can be seen flitting along the woodland fringes, whereas the woodland core is home to:
- Greater Spotted Woodpecker.
- Tawny Owl.
The Gorsedd y Penrhyn headland is managed as a Traditional Hay Meadow, with an annual hay cut in mid-to-late August (weather permitting!) This style of management allows for an array of colourful wildflowers to flourish. Some of the wildflowers that can be seen are:
- Birds Foot Trefoil.
- Common Restharrow.
- Common Mallow.
- Viper's Bugloss.
- Several species of Vetch.
The long grasses and wildflowers make this an ideal spot to see butterflies and invertebrates such as:
- Common Blue.
- Meadow Brown Gatekeeper.
- Red Admiral.
- Painted Lady.
- Comma Butterfly.
You may also see several species of Bumble Bee and Hoverfly. Kestrel's can be seen hovering above the grassland as they hunt for small mammals and birds. Whilst the scrub areas of the headland make ideal habitat for birds such as Skylark, Stonechat, Goldfinch and Whitethroat.
Penrhos Coastal Park also has a number of freshwater habitats ranging from ponds and ditches to several small pockets of reed bed. The ponds are regularly frequented by Mallard, Coot and Moorhen alongside some ornamental wildfowl species. A network of old drainage ditches runs through the park providing damp and muddy homes for frogs and toads. These drainage ditches also help us to regulate the water level of several small areas of reed bed, a Priority Habitat under the UK's Habitat Action Plan (UKHAP); and a suitable home for our Willow Warbler's.
Penrhos Coastal Park lies immediately east of Holyhead and is comprised of relatively open and low-lying landforms. With a mosaic of coastal habitats, wooded areas and farmland, in conjunction with the raised headland of Gorsedd-y-Penrhyn; which gives excellent panoramic views of the North West Anglesey coastline, Beddmanarch Bay, Holyhead Mountain and the Snowdonia Mountain Range. It is understandable that the Penrhos Coastal Park forms part of Anglesey's Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Features Of Geological Interest
The rocks of Holy Island date back to the Precambrian Eon (over 542 million years ago) and are among the oldest known in Britain. The boulder clay headland (Gorsedd-y-Penrhyn) which dominates the park's coastline is a good example of sectioned drumlin, an elongated hump-backed hill formed by glacial action. An ice sheet of about 1,700 feet thick moved across the land during the most recent glacial period, the Late Devensian ice age (around 20,000 years ago). The shape of the headland depicts the direction that the ice sheet was travelling (North-East to South-West), with the blunter end of the 20 metre high headland facing into the glacial movement. From the beach below it is possible to see the exposed sediments and internal structure of the headland. Gorsedd-y-Penrhyn has been designated as a Regionally Important Geological and geomorphological Site (UKRIGS) by the Geoconservation Association.