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Sand dunes and beaches

Ceredigion's coast has several sheltered coves and small bays with sandy beaches from Mwnt near Cardigan to Clararch, north of Aberystwyth. Some beaches are divided by small rocky headlands, such as Aberporth, Llangrannog and New Quay. Penbryn beach is a mile of golden sand, but the longest sandy beach is at Borth, stretching three miles north to the dunes at Ynyslas. 

At Gwbert, at the mouth of the river Teifi, the sand dunes, known as Towyn Burrows lie on an ancient bed of glacial till, blown from the Irish Sea by strong onshore winds, whilst the beaches at Llanrhystud and Borth lie against shingle ridges. 

The wind and tide can still dramatically change the sand at the mouth of the Teifi between Gwbert on the north shore and and Poppit Sands on the southern side of the estuary. At Borth, the wind creates perfect conditions for surfing, flying kites, and even kite-surfing.

The dunes at Ynyslas are the largest in Ceredigion and are continuously moulded by sea breezes and currents. As well as marram grass and sea bindweed, the dunes are well known for orchids and marsh helleborine and pyramid and bee orchids in the drier areas. The dunes are also home to rare liverworts and fungi, insects and reptiles. Skylark, linnet and stonechat nest in the dunes whilst ringed plovers make their nests on pebbly parts of the beach. The large wooden sculpture of a banded snail is a great place to get a good view of the site.

At low tide, the sea retreats from the sands between Borth and Ynyslas to reveal the remains of an ancient petrified forest, which, along with the rampart-like pebble ridges of the 'sarnau', gave rise to the legend of the lost land of Cantre'r Gwaelod.