The dunes are home to many species which are perfectly adapted to live in the naturally shifting sand.

From toads and lizards to butterflies and orchids, there are many different species that our work will help to protect. Some are rare while others are more common, but each of these species are specially adapted for life in a healthy sand dune environment. Meet some of our dune wildlife below, learn about the kinds of dune habitats they live in, and the conservation actions we’re taking to protect them.

Early English Gentian

Early Gentian

Related to the dune gentian (Gentianella uliginosa), I am a tiny plant, no more than an inch or two tall, which lives in dune grassland.

Kenfig NNR - Fen Orchid

Fen Orchid

In June, my tiny yellow flowers add sunny splashes of colour to the landscape, but there are very few habitats left in the UK that I can live in!

Great crested newt

Great Crested Newt

Sand dunes are a great place for me to live, especially when the dune system is made up of a mosaic of different habitat

Donna Nook seal

Grey Seal

One of the most famous animals to live on the Lincolnshire coast, but I’m also one of the rarest seals in the world!

saltfleetby - natterjack toad

Natterjack Toad

My rough, warty skin is olive green and brown, and I have a long yellow line on my back.

Northern Dune Tiger Beetle (Cicindela hybrida) on dune system at Ainsdale Nature Reserve, Merseyside, UK. May. Photographer: Alex Hyde

Northern Dune Tiger Beetle

Can you see the large mandibles, a bit like pincers, near my mouth? I use these to dismember my prey!



Despite my name, I don’t actually have petals!



I used to live in lots of dune habitats all across the UK, where I was an important part of life in the dunes: my grazing would keep grassland short and by digging my burrows, I would keep patches of sand bare and encourage sand movement through the dunes.

Sand Lizard 2

Sand Lizard

I love basking in the sun on bare sand, however, you will be lucky to spot many of my friends as we are one of the UK’s rarest reptiles.


Silver-Studded Blue Butterfly

I’m a big favourite with Cornwall’s sand dune visitors in the summer months.