The view across Morfa Harlech from the main road, just south of reserve, is surely one of the finest views in Wales. Set against the sweeping panorama of Snowdonia and beneath Harlech Castle on its imposing crags, Morfa Harlech is one of two extensive sand dune systems which make up much of the soft Meirionnydd coastline, extending form the Mawddach estuary in the south to Black Rock Sands in the north west.
This National Nature Reserve is of particular importance because it is the only accreting dune system in Wales due to the long-shore drift, which is currently eroding the dunes at Morfa Dyffryn to the south. In fairly recent times the sea lapped at the base of the cliff on which Harlech Castle stands, but the accumulation of sand and the development of the dunes gradually pushed the shoreline westward.
The habitats created by the unstable shifting sands are unique and are totally dependent on these dynamic geomorphological processes. The uninterrupted sandy beach is about 7km long from Llanfair in the south, to the estuary of the Afon Glaslyn.
There is a range of sand dune communities and extensive dune slacks which support many nationally scarce or rare plant and invertebrate species such as Welsh Mudwort and the Dwarf Spike Rush. Spring and summer are the best times to see many of the flowering plants that make the dune grasslands and slacks their home.
The habitat is important for several sand dune specialist invertebrates, including the nationally rare mining bee Colletes cunicularius and for reptiles such as the Common Lizard and the much rarer Sand Lizard, which was recently re-introduced to the area.
Morfa Harlech is also a good place for bird-watching especially in winter when Whooper Swans and large flocks of Widgeon, Pintail and Mallard occur in the Glaslyn Estuary to the north.
The flowers are best seen in Spring and Summer.
The reserve lies west of Harlech on the A496. A minor road leads to a pay-and-display car park, from where a short footpath leads to the beach.