Radical dune project to save fen orchids

Will a pioneering project to reshape sand dunes that are home to a stronghold of fen orchids and other rare plants and invertebrates, protect or destroy the habitat?

Tearing up a four hectare area of a Special Area of Conservation and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) would usually be met with widespread condemnation.

But after 70 years Kenfig National Nature Reserve in South Wales has become over-stabilised and overgrown by vegetation such as marram grass, a far cry from its natural state.

“Although this habitat in general terms is nice, great to look at and species rich – it’s just a drop in the ocean on this particular site,” said Scott Hand, the countryside council officer for Kenfig.

“The new habitat produced by losing some existing habitat is considered a necessary risk and deemed ‘destructively constructive’.”

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