Discover rare heathland in Llŷn

Coastal heathland is an important habitat that supports an array of rare plants and animals including the spotted rock rose and chough.

What is heathland?

Heathlands are wide open landscapes dominated by dwarf shrubs such as heathers and gorse. There are several types of heathland and the UK holds the largest amount of heathland in Western Europe and the world.

Coastal grasslands and heathlands are a defining element of the Llŷn landscape. In the past 100 years there has been a dramatic decrease in the area of heath in Llŷn.


The All Wales Coastal Path runs through this site giving you an opportunity to enjoy this very special habitat and the spectacular coastal views of Western Llŷn.

The wonderful mix of heath, grassland and coastal habitat at Penarfynydd, makes for an incredible diversity, including the nationally rare golden samphire, found clinging to rock ledges on exposed coastal fringes.


Penarfynydd is also designated for chough with two pairs breeding in the coastal sea caves. In autumn and winter, when the choughs have finished breeding, small flocks come to feed on the site.

A very special place

This habitat is of international significance and designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Some species that live in these areas are so highly specialised that, without the habitats, they might well be driven to the point of extinction.

Penarfynydd Farm

Penarfynydd is one of our tenanted farms, 4km west of Aberdaron, near the village of Rhiw.

Twenty years ago the heathland was in poor shape with intensive sheep grazing but today it’s looking good with a mixed regime which includes cattle, ponies and a specialist breed of sheep.

Healing the wounds of the past

Improvement through developing a working relationship between land managers and farmers over the last 10 years has meant that our heath at Penarfynydd is now in good condition.

It’s living proof that farming and nature conservation does not need to be a compromise.