Kenfig, Wales


Kenfig National Nature Reserve is a 1,300-acre Site of Special Scientific Interest (an ‘SSSI’) and is one of Wales’s top sand-dune reserves. The Reserve is most well known for being home to a wide variety of rare species of plant, including the fen orchid. The largest natural lake in South Wales, Kenfig Pool, is set on the edge of the Reserve. At the lake, there’s a large bird hide located next to the water’s edge which gives you views over the lake and across to Swansea Bay. If you are lucky you may even see an otter (although we didn’t!).

The Reserve is a haven for wildfowl all year round, and one of the few places in the UK where bittern can be seen in the winter months! You may even get to see a kingfisher, too.  Once you pass Kenfig Pool, the rest of the Reserve is made up of a vast expanse of sand dunes that lead down to the coast and Sker Point.

Average rating: 4.0 (very good)

Average cost: free!

Best time to visit: all year round, with winter welcoming migrant wildfowl (and you may even see a bittern!). If you head there in the summer months the wildflowers growing among the sand dunes come alive with damselflies, dragonflies, butterflies, and other insects.

How to get there: the Reserve lies on the South Wales coast around one mile off of the M4 motorway, between Bridgend and Port Talbot (so it’s easier to get there if you have a car). Pyle appears to be the closest railway station to the Reserve although there’s a 40-minute walk between the reserve and the station.

Typical activities: bird watching, walking, wildlife watching

Number of reports: 1

Last updated: 2021


According to reports submitted to WildSide, the most popular species that can be seen here are:


otter kenfig wildside world wild webEurasian otters can be difficult to spot as their dark brown coats mean they’re expertly camouflaged. It’s sometimes easier to spot them swimming or diving with a flick of their long tails. Their diet mainly consists of fish, although they can sometimes eat frogs, insects, birds, and even small mammals! If you’re looking for otters be very quiet and blend into your surroundings as much as possible. Wear dark clothing and move slowly, so your silhouette doesn’t break the horizon. Keep your eyes peeled when you are looking over Kenfig Pool, and you may just see one…


kingfisher kenfig wildside world wild webCommon (or Eurasian) kingfishers are typically found near slow-moving water, such as Kenfig Pool. They are easily recognised by their bright blue and orange feathers. Kingfishers are around the size of house sparrows with large heads and dagger-like bills. However, they can be difficult to spot, even with their bright colours. Listen out for their distinctive call (a shrill ‘chreee’ or ‘chee-kee’) which usually provides the best clue to their presence.

Photo credit: Wildside team member Katie Thomas

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