Flintshire’s Coastal Ranger has recently been teaming up with a number of partners, including land owners and students, to help improve the habitat for the sand lizard.  

These valuable works have been enhancing the sand dunes at Talacre for the sand lizard which is one of the UK’s rarest reptiles. 

The sand lizard, once extinct in Wales, finds its home in the sand dunes in Talacre following a successful reintroduction programme. 

Works to enhance the sand lizards habitat have included ‘sand patching’, which is where the dunes have patches of vegetation cleared by spade or mini-digger to create bare areas of sand.

The digger creates new patches and people power creates even more patches in places where the digger cannot access.

The students then helped to weed some of last year’s sand patches to maintain optimal habitat for the reptiles.

Lizards benefit from a mixture of bare sand and cover, so these works keep the site in favourable condition for them.

The patches created for the lizards are a meter wide and a couple of meters long to create lots of edges which the lizards use for basking.

They go into the open sand to warm their bodies in the sun but stay close to the edges where they can move quickly back into cover for protection. 

Neil Ankers, general manager at Presthaven Beach Resort said: "Presthaven Beach Resort also employs a dunes ranger who works in partnership with Flintshire County Council and NRW to manager the sand dunes system, including the protection and preservation of rare species such as the sand lizards and Natterjack Toads.

"This is very important to us, and allows us to play our part in protecting this site of specific scientific interest for everyone to enjoy now and for many years to come."

There is a long standing partnership with Bourne Leisure where Flintshire’s Coastal Ranger Team support and guide the works in the sand dunes to protect Flintshire’s only sand dune system.

This work has been supported by other long standing relationships with Chester University, Llysfasi College and Coleg Cambria, providing a variety of learning and training opportunities within the countryside sector.