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Reptiles Around Borth

21 April 2018

Author and photo: Fred Slater CEcol CEnv FCIEEM(rtd), Welsh Section Committee

Mark Barber of the Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Trust led our visit to the Ynyslas Dunes and Borth Bog (Cors Fochno), part of the Dyfi NNR, in search of reptiles. As we waited for the group of eight CIEEM members to arrive at the Ynyslas Visitor Centre, Mark had already found several common lizards and a male adder along the paths just a few metres from the Centre with the legions of dogs and their walkers and Visitor Centre visitors all oblivious of the herpetology at their feet!

Deeper in to the dunes we began searching for sand lizards but in the heat of a glorious late spring day we were warned that the lizards may have finished “sun bathing” and moved on. This was largely true but with Mark’s expertise we did spot a few either on the move or well camouflaged within the marram tussocks.

Lunch in the sunshine at Borth Bog (Cors Fochno) was followed by a walk through the area inspecting artificial refugia, but again the heat of the afternoon meant few animals were seeking shelter, though we did find adder and some recently sloughed skins making it a worthwhile exercise.

Mark Barber with the group looking for sand lizards Everyone said they enjoyed the day and learned a lot from Mark, undoubtedly one of Wales leading reptile experts. By the way, Mark is keen to train some volunteer sand lizard spotters to monitor the expansion of the Ynyslas population – a good skill to develop and not a corrugated sheet in sight! If interested contact Mark ( 


Mark Barber with the group looking for sand lizards