MOD Pendine is home to many species of flora and fauna that are of national and international importance. The area has been designated as a Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) based upon its broadleaved woodland, maritime cliff and slope communities, habitat mixture and intertidal habits, Namurian rock sequence and associated fossils, Quaternary deposits and associated landforms. The MOD and QinetiQ are committed conserving the extensive Flora and Fauna that flourish throughout these unique habitats.

By managing the sites effectively, often in partnership with local and national organisations, we can have a positive effect on the environment in which we work, demonstrate our commitment to our local communities as well as contributing to UK biodiversity.

The rich mixture of habitat types, rare plants, assemblages of invertebrates and breeding birds will continue to exist at this site and the adjacent farmland remains as a host habitat in winter for the golden plover, while the ditches and other wetlands maintain a viable population of the water vole.

Reed Cutting of Wytchett Lake

Flora and Fauna

Pendine is part of the Carmarthen Bay and Estuaries Special Area of Conservation (SAC), the Carmarthen Bay Dunes Special Area of Conservation, Laugharne and Pendine Burrows Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a small area of the Taff Estuary Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI). Click here for further information from Natural Resources Wales (formally Countryside Council for Wales - CCW) website.

Below are some of the species of Flora and Fauna that make MOD Pendine a unique site:

  • Allis (Alsoa alosa) and Twaite shad (Alosa fallax);
  • River Lamprey (Lampetra fluviatilis);
  • Sea Lamprey (Petromyzon arinus);
  • Otter (Lutra Lutra);
  • Common Scoter (Melanitta nigra);
  • Red-throated diver (Gavia stellate);
  • Velvet Scoter (Melanitta fusca);
  • Eider (Somateria);
  • Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus);
  • Fen orchid (Liparis Loeselii);
  • Petalwort (Petallophylum ralfsii);
  • Bladderwort (Utricularia australis);
  • Dune gentian (Gentianella uliginosa);
  • Water vole (Arvicola terrestris);
  • Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria);
Map of Pendine Sands


Pendine Sands and Laugharne Burrows form part of a Geological Conservation Review Site (Carmarthen Bay; GCR site no. 2102) for its natural processes and anthropogenic modifications.

The Range is situated on a coastal plain backed by a dissected and bevelled remnant of a plateau surface. This higher ground falls southwards and eastwards from 180m to 100m OD. There is an almost linear, steeply sloping boundary between the dissected plateau and the coastal plain. From Pendine to Plashett (just NW of Coygen Quarry) the A4066 follows the base of this slope, and then continues along a glacial meltwater channel that isolates St Johns Hill from the remainder of the plateau. Coygen Quarry lies on a fault bounded block of Carboniferous Limestone but the remainder of the higher ground is on rocks of the Old Red Sandstone.

The south-western extension of the Llandefaelog Disturbance (part of a regionally significant fault zone - The Church Stretton Disturbance ) is shown on the geological map as a line passing along the base of the slope of St Johns Hill and continuing WSW beneath the coastal plain to pass just offshore from Pendine and Ragwen Point. The fault zone is probably more complex than this (as seen in the cliffs where it reaches the coastline west of Amroth). A relatively minor earthquake (in terms of damage) occurred on this fault in 1983. It had a magnitude of 5.0ML, and caused some minor structural damage to buildings and visible disturbance of sea surface in nearby estuaries.

The MOD range is situated within an extensive dune system (Pendine - Laugharne Burrows) that backs the 11km long sandy beach that extends from Dolwen Point to Ginst Point. This dune system has partially encroached over an area of marshland/saltmarsh that has been reclaimed for agricultural use.