Distribution of Sand Dunes in Great Britain

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This article includes a distribution map of coastal sand dunes in Great Britain. It lists the more important sites and provides links to further information on them.

It derives from the 'Sand Dune Inventory of Europe' (Doody ed. 1991) [1]. The 1991 inventory was prepared under the umbrella of the European Union for Dune Conservation [EUDC]. The original inventory was presented to the European Coastal Conservation Conference, held in the Netherlands in November 1991. It attempted to provide a description of the sand dune vegetation, sites and conservation issues throughout Europe including Scandinavia, the Atlantic coast and in the Mediterranean.

An overview article on European sand dunes provides links to the other European country reports. These include chapters from updated individual country reports included as part of a revised 'Sand Dune Inventory of Europe' prepared for the International Sand Dune Conference “Changing Perspectives in Coastal Dune Management”, held from the 31st March - 3rd April 2008, in Liverpool, UK (Doody ed. 2008)[2].


Figure: Map of sand dune distribution and important sites in Great Britain, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Copyright: J Pat Doody

See the UK Joint Nature Conservation Committee web site for an overview of the main sites identified as SACs for coastal sand dunes and continental dune habitat [1].

The sites listed in the table below and shown in the figure are all over 50ha, and considered to be of national importance as examples of coastal sand dune habitat. The code number refers to the description of the Special Area of Conservation (SAC) designated under the European Union Habitats Directive and held on the Joint Nature Conservation Committee Web Site. A link is provided in the list of "Site Name & Links" to the more detailed information.

It is now (2022) possible to view the results of the sand dune vegetation survey of Scotland at [2] England (Sand Dune Vegetation Survey of Great Britain, date of 1st Data Source 01/06/1988 and UKP Aerial Photographs, date of 2nd Data Source 01/01/2000) and Wales (ESTIMATED & DIGITISED FROM OS 1:50,000 MAPS FOR CCW BY CALM (2003), from the UK Government MAGIC web site [3]


Site name and links


Table: Important sand dune sites in England and Wales

01. North Northumberland Dunes, [4] Between 1983 and 2019 visits were made to two dunes within this area:

a) Ross Links - notes on sand dune management File:Ross Links.pdf

b) The Snook

02. Saltfleetby, [5]

03. Gibraltar Point

04. North Norfolk Coast, [6]

05. Winterton, [7]

06. Sandwich & Pegwell Bay, [8]

07. Studland Heath, [9]

08. Penhale, [10]

09. Braunton Burrows, [11]

10. Sefton Coast, [12]

11. North Walney & Sandscale, [13]

12. Drigg Point, [14]


13. Kenfig, [15]

14. Oxwich

15. Whiteford Burrows and

16. Tywyn Gwendraeth [16]

17. Stackpole Warren

18. Ynyslas

19. Morfa Dyffryn and

20. Morfa Harlech [17]

21. Newborough Warren and

22. Tywyn Aberffraw [18]


Table: Important sand dune sites in Scotland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands

23. Torrs Warren, [19]

24. Killinallan (Islay)

24a Oronsay Machair, [20]

25. Hough Bay & Ballavullin Machair (Tirree), [21]

26. Crossapol & Gunna Machair (Coll), [22]

27. South Uist Machair, including 28. Howmore Estuary Machair and 29. Loch Bee Machair [23]

30. Baleshare & Kirkibost Machair, (North Uist Machair) [24]

31. Monarch Isles Machair, [25]

32. Berneray Machair

33. Northton Bay Machair

34. Sandwood Bay, [26]

35. Faraid Head & Balnakeil Bay, (Durness) [27]

35a Invernaver, [28]

36. Dunnet Links

37. Morrich More, [29]

38. Loch of Strathbeg

39. Sands of Forvie, [30]

40. St. Cyrus

41. Barry Links, [31]

42. Tentsmuir & Earshall Muir


43. Point of Ayre


44. Le Quennevais


  1. Doody, J.P., ed., 1991. Sand Dune Inventory of Europe. Peterborough, Joint Nature Conservation Committee/European Union for Coastal Conservation.
  2. Doody, J.P., ed. 2008. Sand Dune Inventory of Europe, 2nd Edition. National Coastal Consultants and EUCC - The Coastal Union, in association with the IGU Coastal Commission.

The main author of this article is Doody, Pat
Please note that others may also have edited the contents of this article.

Citation: Doody, Pat (2022): Distribution of Sand Dunes in Great Britain. Available from http://www.coastalwiki.org/wiki/Distribution_of_Sand_Dunes_in_Great_Britain [accessed on 20-05-2024]