Wildflowers of Coastal Paths, Cliffs and Dunes

The North Wales coast is a naturally rich, diverse and complex series of habitats that are linked and easily accessed by public footpaths. Here you will find many specialised plants that are well adapted to growing in the harsh salt-laden conditions of the coast, where they thrive in shingle, beyond the high-tide lines of sandy beaches or in the more sheltered established dunes. In addition to these, there are many other species, well-established or occasional opportunists, that have arrived here from neighbouring habitats, particularly where  towns and villages are close, which add to the floral diversity.

Golden Melilot & Marram-Llandudno West Shore to Deganwy

The following wildflowers are those which I have seen and photographed on my walks along the coastal paths, beaches and dunes of my local area of North Wales. So far that includes sections of the Wales Coast Path (which is also the North Wales Path) and beaches within the county of Conwy, from Rhyl around to Llanfairfechan and parts of the Anglesey coast. Within that range the public paths pass through a mix of habitats from rocky, shingle and sandy beaches, dunes, the limestone cliffs of the Little and Great Ormes and the salt-marsh of Llanfairfechan alongside the Menai Strait. Some stretches of the paths run through designated Nature Reserves, other parts are right on the edges of villages or towns where plants have been introduced for various reasons and then spread, so there are very few places left where the flora is purely coastal, or strictly native.

My list of species is far from complete, but it’s growing steadily, and I think it’s likely that those already included are those that you are most likely to come across in the course of a walk without straying too far from any of the marked paths.

I’ve arranged the photographs of the flowers alphabetically by their common names, followed by their Latin name & their Welsh name where possible. I have also noted  where I have seen some of the less common species, particularly if that’s only in one or two places. If there is no location specified it’s likely the plant is fairly common so no particular details are necessary. Some species have two photographs, or insets, as often leaves appear well before flowers and depending on the time of year may be all you get to see. Then there’s Coltsfoot where the flower comes first and is followed later by its large leaves. A good many of the wildflowers will have been mentioned in blog posts too, so if you want to know where to find something specific you might try typing it in to the search box on the home page.