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New sculpture at Crymlyn Burrows will celebrate the beauty and biodiversity of the area

15 Jul 2023 4 minute read
Arch construction (inset) image by James Eifion Thomas, and Crymlyn Burrows where the arch will be, image by Ben Sampson

This weekend, a new sculpture will be installed at Crymlyn Burrows to celebrate the wildlife and diversity of the protected coastal site and its importance to the local community.

The sculpture has been designed by Welsh Artist Blacksmith, James Eifion Thomas, to incorporate key elements of the landscape, and to stand as a gateway for people entering the site.

Its ornate arches will welcome people as they begin their journey and provide a glimpse of the landscape in store.

In time, a second sculpture will be installed at the other entrance to the Burrows – designed as a pair, this second sculpture will reflect some of the larger landscape features and influences of nearby Baglan Burrows.

A day of free family-friendly nature activities to encourage local residents, students and the wider community to explore the dunes will be held on Sunday 16 July.

There will be free refreshments, along with a Bioblitz, guided nature walks and a scavenger hunt along with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by guests from Swansea University, Natural Resources Wales, Plantlife and other partner organisations.

Vital refuge

Coastal sand dunes are listed as the habitat type most at risk of biodiversity loss in Europe and Crymlyn Burrows is a vital refuge in an area of high development. The dunes and salt marsh on the site are home to rare and specialist wildlife, including dune tiger beetles, orchids, and brown-banded carder bees.

Swansea University have been working with Dynamic Dunescapes and Buglife, carrying out habitat restoration works to improve the condition of Crymlyn Burrows and create a space to connect with nature for both the students at Swansea University Bay Campus and local residents.

One of the major threats to sand dunes is uncontrolled vegetation and invasive species growth which smothers the dunes and has a devastating effect on the specialist plants and invertebrates which live there, many of which are adapted to live in bare or moving sand.

To help restore the habitat, the excess vegetation has been removed mechanically with volunteers helping to remove any regrowth.

It is hoped that these works will allow the Burrows to flourish again and secure the site’s future as an important place for people and wildlife.

Crymlyn Bioblitz image by Hannah Lee Dynamic Dunescapes

Pockets of wilderness

Ben Sampson, Swansea University Sustainability officer and Crymlyn Burrows Warden, said: Crymlyn Burrows is one of the last remaining pockets of wilderness around the Swansea Bay coast, its dunes and marshes home to an amazing range of plants and animals. Having such an important area for wildlife so close to the city and free for all to explore makes it a wonderful place for people to experience nature on their doorstep, and all the more special.”

Hannah Lee, Wales Engagement Officer for Dynamic Dunescapes, said: “This sculpture will really help to create a sense of arrival for people visiting Crymlyn. We’ve designed it to include elements of the site that local residents connect with the most and you’ll see it has butterflies, birds, dragonflies and more intertwined in it. We want it to represent not only the now, but also the past and future of the site.”

The event is free to attend and is co-hosted by Dynamic Dunescapes, in partnership with Plantlife, Natural Resources Wales, Swansea University, Neath Port Talbot Local Nature Partnership, Buglife, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation trust, Sands of LIFE and the South East Wales Biological Recording Centre (SEWBReC).

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