Discovering South Wales with Grace Hunt

Grace Hunt

Hi, I’m Grace, a Conservation Biology graduate, with a passion for capturing the natural world with my camera. Having recently moved to Wales I was excited to receive the bursary and have the chance to explore my new surroundings with my camera in hand.

Pembrey is my local sand dune system and quickly became one of my favourite places. Home to 20% of all Welsh plant species it is an incredibly diverse area, but unfortunately like many sand dune systems it is under threat. At Pembrey, Dynamic Dunescapes have been working to remove invasive plant species like Sea buckthorn to restore the dunes’ natural processes and create a better habitat for dune specialists. Over the last year, I’ve worked to create a short film to document the removal of the sea buckthorn, the wildlife that calls Pembrey home, as well as the amazing people behind this conservation work, with the aim of engaging the local community with what’s being done to protect this remarkable wild place.

A close up photo of a purple orchid flower in the grass. The stem is green and the purple flowers grow from the stalk in a ladder
A green winged orchid

Over the course of my project, I visited Pembrey throughout the year which meant I had to chance to experience the dunes in all seasons. In March, the dunes began to hum with life with mining bees emerging from sandy banks, rare Green Winged Orchids flowering across the older dunes and reptiles making the most of the morning sunshine. As Spring turned to Summer, butterflies and bees could be seen all over the dunes, pollinating a huge range of distinctive dune flowers, while stonechats and meadow pipits could be seen busily collecting insects for their hungry chicks. The sound of the sea and skylarks was a constant throughout the year and always provided a peaceful soundtrack when filming in the dunes. With the dunes constantly shape shifting and range of wildlife that lives within them, there was always something new to discover and this is something I love about this landscape. Some of the species that can be found in the dunes are extremely rare which made them challenging to find but even more rewarding to watch and film so that I could share these animals with others.

A small slow worm is held in the hand. The slow worm is a shiny, golden brown
A slow worm

I have a much deeper appreciation for the complexity of this habitat and the unique wildlife that has adapted to live there. It’s been rewarding to learn about how important sand dunes are and I hope that my short film helps to inspire others to explore these wild spaces and help to protect the plants and animals that live there.

Grace's Short Film

Grace Hunt headshot

About the Author

Grace Hunt

I am a Conservation Biology graduate and enthusiastic science communicator, with a passion for protecting nature for people and wildlife. I have set up a small business, produced a range of video content for conservation organisations and worked in wildlife education; all with the aim of encouraging people to engage with and act for nature. I love using film and photography to connect people to the incredible species and wild spaces we have on our doorstep in the UK.

You can see more from Grace on her social media accounts:
Instagram: @gracehuntphotography
YouTube: Grace Hunt