Monday, 23 January 2012

Mobile dunes of Barmouth

Blown in from the Channel Isles?
Strong winds, stormy seas and Bermo’s seafront road was closed by an impromptu sand dune. As for the Jersey Lifeboat - I’m not sure how that ended up here.

I think the dunes at Bermo are a relatively recent phenomenon following construction works near the harbour. They are steadily moving up the coast, the natural, free and uninhibited way. Not locked down by plantations of marram grass or other human intervention.

Tourists might prefer to walk straight from their hotels onto the beach but the dunes provide a brilliant natural coastal defence.  By being mobile they can shift, grow and adapt as sea levels rise. We probably need to remobilise other dunes along the coast to regain this natural protection just as they did in Holland and Denmark.

Mobile dunes, which are now very scarce, also provide a dynamic environment favoured by a very specific range of plants and wildlife.  


  1. I think the dunes have always been a feature of Barmouth but untill recent years the county council used to send a fleet of earth movers just before the start of the season to deposit the sand back at the water line. Grasses have developed over the last few years so that now as you rightly say Barmouth is "Growing" its future sea defences. They seem popular with visitors who like to sit amongst them both of breezy days when they afford protection and on the (far more numerous) sunny ones where they form comfortable bathing in relative seclusion.
    The area in front of the lifeboat station is cleared to allow the boat access to the sea. I would have preferred to see the lifeboat sited at the far end of the prom where the distance to the water is always much shorter.

  2. I have lived on Barmouth sea front for many years and I have to say that the sand dunes are not a natural feature, they have been created by the movement of the sand by Gwynedd council at the start of every tourist season, Whilst some people might like the dunes, many do not, they are full of rubbish, dog mess, people camp in them for weeks in the summer, and they are used for toilets! At one time you could stroll along the promenade and have a lovely view of the sea, now that has gone and the dunes have spread so much in such a short time that I fear we will not have a beach in 5 years time. Barmouth sea front desperatley needs regeneration, but in a sympathetic way and the dunes need to be partially removed