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Conserving the hidden meadows beneath the sea


Underneath the sea at Porthdinllaen lies an amazing hidden meadow. Seagrass is the only flowering plant that lives in our coastal waters and at Porthdinllaen, Gwynedd it forms one of the largest and densest seagrass beds in North Wales. Although most of us may be oblivious to it’s presence it is an incredibly important natural resource and a project is currently underway to understand more about it’s value and how it can be protected in to the future. 

Seagrass beds form in shallow, sheltered, clear water areas along our coast and provide an important natural seashore defence by stabilising the sediment and slowing down the current. The seagrass also supports a vast array of marine wildlife, including commercial fish species, by providing food, shelter and nursery areas whilst also absorbing carbon dioxide, producing oxygen and filtering coastal pollution.

Unfortunately we lost more than half our seagrass to a wasting disease in the 1930s and since then the beds have struggled to recover because of poor water quality, coastal development, pollution and localised disturbance. At Porthdinllaen there is evidence to suggest that mooring activity is having a negative effect on the health of the seagrass bed and as a result the Porthdinllaen Seagrass Project has been initiated to gather information and decide on a plan of action that will safeguard the seagrass whilst at the same time allowing current activity in the area to continue. 

The project is a partnership between Pen Llyn a’r Sarnau Special Area of Conservation and the National Trust and Alison Hargrave, Pen Llyn a’r Sarnau SAC Officer with Gwynedd Council emphasises that

“our current priority is to ensure that the local community and site users have every opportunity to get involved and to help decide the best way forward at Porthdinllaen. To help do this we’re holding a drop in session held at Y Ganolfan, Nefyn between 4-7pm on the 4th of December where there will be a warm welcome to anyone interested in finding out more about the project to call in for a chat with the project team who will be on hand to answer any queries you may have.”

Alison Hargrave, Pen Llyn a’r Sarnau SAC Officer, Gwynedd Council 01286 679495

Laura Jones, Coastal Ranger, National Trust, 01758 760469

Image by Paul Kay

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