Kenfig National Nature Reserve is a large coastal dune system near Porthcawl, in Bridgend County.
It hosts a variety of coastal habitats including wetlands, dune slacks, the River Kenfig and Kenfig Pool.
The reserve is open to visitors year round and car parking is free.
The reserve is home to the Fen Orchid one of the Uk’s rarest flowers
Fen orchid -Liparis loeselii is a small green-flowered orchid of fens and dune systems. Two morphologically distinct forms occur: the type form of the East Anglian fens has acute oblong-elliptical leaves, while the form occurring in the dune slacks of south Wales and formerly north Devon (var. ovata) is shorter, generally fewer-flowered and bears blunt, broadly elliptical leaves. In the UK the two forms are mutually exclusive with respect to their distribution between habitats, but in mainland Europe the type (fenland) form var. loeselii also occurs in dune slacks.
The Orchid can be found in 2 sites on the South Wales coast Carmarthen Bay and Kenfig and perhaps the legends below also link Carmarthen Bay with Kenfig.
Other species of flower found a Kenfig
- the Pyramidal Orchid
- Fragrant Orchid
- Bee Orchid
- Marsh Helleborines
If you have a photo of this rare orchid can you post it on our FaceBook Page
Legend of the Dunes -The lost forests and Castle
Mysterious Wales by Chris Barber (awarded an MBE in 2007 for his services to the community and tourist industry in South Wales) tells us legend of the lost forest Coed Afan -“Silver Wood” that stretched from Mumbles to Kenfig Burrows and a lost bridle path from Penrice Castle to Margam Abbey
Kenfig believed to be a derivation of Cefn y Figen “high ground above the Marsh” there is legend that a terrific flood or Tsunami in the 16th century buried the old town of Kenfig. Reports by Leland the traveller in 1540 tells of the existing settlement and castle becoming almost completely buried by sand. This was not the first time as records tell of the great storms between 1314 and 1316 pushing the sand dunes over half the pasture of Conyger near Kenfig. The castle turrets can still be seen today.
Close to the Dunes lies the Prince of Wales Inn
The Prince of Wales Inn was built as a Town Hall to replace the one lost beneath the sands. The upstairs room at the Prince of Wales Inn was the Guild Hall, now known as the Town Hall and is accessed via an external stairway to the main building. Its long room has been in continuous usage for centuries and it was within this very room that the Burgesses exercised their rights granted by the Kenfig Charters. It was here that they held their own courts, controlled trade, established commercial and public behaviour standards and enforced sanitation regulations. The festival of Gwyl Mabsant (Dancing Festival) was held in this upper room and on many occasions it has also served as a mortuary for shipwrecked mariners.
Please feel free to speak to the Landlord, Gareth Maund, who will be only too happy to take you on a guided tour of the Town Hall Long Room. He will also provide you with an entertaining, informative and educational talk on the history of the Prince of Wales and its surrounding area with tales of haunting in one of the most haunted Public Houses in Wales!
The food is also recommended so come and enjoy the atmosphere of a Welsh village Inn complete with friendly Characters willing to tell you a tale or two…
CADW “The area also includes Kenfig Pool, the largest stretch of natural freshwater in Glamorgan, this formed part of a fishery belonging to Margam Abbey during the medieval period and shown on a 16th century map as having been connected to the sea by a channel or ‘gutter’.During the post-medieval period the area was used as a rabbit warren, sale particulars of 1782 when the area was sold to the Talbots of Margam, detail a warren of 100 acres bounded by stonewalls.”
Places to stay in Bridgend
Caravan & Camping