Archives

Carmel, near Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire

Carmel's semi-improved hay meadows in June

Carmel’s semi-improved hay meadows in June

Important Notice

Please note that until further notice, some of the paths on this nature reserve will be closing soon to public access. This is due to the presence of Ash Dieback in the trees.

Our detailed assessment of the number and health of the ash trees (and the risk they pose to site users) determined that making enough trees safe would cause too much harm to the nature reserve, especially the species that depend on ash. It would also reduce our ability to learn about any resilience these local trees might have.

Therefore, with wildlife in mind, we have decided to leave the trees standing- but that means we reluctantly have to reduce public access here until further notice. This decision will be kept under review and this site updated if the situation changes.

The path closures will be clearly marked on site and for your own safety we would ask that you respect the closures and instead continue to enjoy the other routes still available on the site.

For further information on Ash Dieback and the Trust’s policy on managing it, visit our Ash Dieback page.

Carmel downloadable leaflet for printing

Return to the Carmarthenshire Reserves page

O.S Explorer map 178 Llanelli & Ammanford. Main entrances: SN584159, SN587163, SN588161, SN190158 and SN590157. Site centre: SN590162

Status: Notified SSSI, NNR and SAC.

Tenure: Leased for 21 years from July 2013 from Natural Resources Wales

Size: 50ha (124 acres)

Location and access notes:

Five miles south west of Llandeilo, straddling the A476 from Llandeilo to Cross Hands. Visitors can park in the dedicated layby on the east side of the A-road, indicated by the brown tourist ‘nature reserve’ sign. A kissing gate at the top of the layby leads into the southern part of the nature reserve. No wheelchair access (footpaths can be steep and muddy).

About the site

Carmel comprises a mosaic of habitats with a distinct patchwork pattern of woodland blocks, with the intervening grassland rides kept open by grazing animals. Surrounding this grassland-woodland mosaic are a number of unimproved and semi-improved hay meadows which are also grazed after the hay crop is taken each summer.

The woodland is dominated by Ash with large amounts of coppiced Hazel, also Spindle and Hawthorn. There is a typical spring limestone ground flora including Bluebell, Dog’s Mercury, Wood Anemone, Wild Garlic and Hart’s-tongue Fern. Scarcer plants occurring here include Lily-of-the-valley and Herb Paris.

Parts of the reserve, particularly the western Pwll Edrychiad block, are covered in large areas of freely-draining species-rich neutral grassland which host different species including Common Knapweed, Bird’s-foot Trefoil and Devil’s-bit Scabious. The lower parts of this block also host marshy grassland and some of the upper limestone ridge is covered in a scrubby layer of Bracken and Gorse, which provides good habitat for reptiles.

Carmel lime kiln by Mat Ridley

Carmel lime kiln by Mat Ridley

Dormice have been discovered in the south western corner of the reserve in the well connected network of wooded patches and hedgerows. A wide range of birds use the varied habitats including Willow Tit, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker and many more.

The site has a fascinating cultural heritage. Quarrying of limestone reached a peak in the nineteenth century and two large quarries and several old lime kilns are still clearly visible on the reserve. Quarrying on this site is thought to have stopped around 1900. The woodland boundaries have probably changed relatively little since this time, remaining on the rockier outcrops whilst other trees were cleared to create pastures on the deeper soils.

 

Talley Lakes, Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire

Talley Geese by V Matthews
Talley Lakes from above

Talley Lakes from above

Talley Lakes downloadable leaflet for printing (102 KB)

Return to Carmarthenshire Reserves Information Page

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 186 Llandeilo & Brechfa Forest. Main entrances: SN632328 or SN635329, Site centre: SN631335

Status SSSI. Please note that the nature reserve boardwalk and bird hide are closed from 30th November 2020 until further notice. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. 

Talley by V Matthews

Talley by V Matthews

Tenure: Leased from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Size 25 ha (61.75 acres).

Location and Access Notes

7 miles north of Llandeilo on the B4302 beside the village of Talley. Off road parking near abbey. Footpath across private land from gate on minor road past abbey to a stile between the two lakes; not accessible for wheelchairs.
No public transport routes known.

Description: Mesotrophic/eutrophic lakes, fen, and wet woodland.

The reserve consists of two lakes lying in glacial hollows separated by a narrow neck of land. This neck of land contains a mound which is a Norman motte, scheduled by Cadw. A narrow canal allows water to flow from the upper lake to the lower, and allows the movement of fish and eels. The lower, northern lake extends for some 27 acres and exhibits a complete vegetational sequence from open water, through reedswamp to Alder and Willow carr. The lake is not easily accessible, and is thus ideal for overwintering wildfowl, breeding ducks, grebes and swans.

Talley Geese by V Matthews

Talley Geese by V Matthews

The upper, southern lake is almost 16 acres in extent and can be seen from nearby roads. In summer the flowers and floating leaves of the Yellow and White Water Lily (7-8) are a striking feature, as is Water-crowfoot (5-9). Both Shoreweed (6-8) and Bladder Sedge still occur, which were recorded back in 1773. Water Sedge is here at its most southerly location.
The lakes were once oligotrophic but are now subject to eutrophication, causing the loss of some plants. There is a bird hide between the two lakes.

Great Crested Grebes and Mute Swans regularly breed and Tufted Duck and Pochard visit. Goldeneye and Goosanders are also winter visitors. Scarce visitors have included Red-necked Grebe, Scaup, Smew, Whooper and Bewicks Swans as well as Flycatchers in the summer.

Locally important invertebrates such as Water Beetles occur and a leaf beetle Donacia obscura. Dragonflies are well represented, including Emperor Dragonfly. Otter spraint has been recorded.

Dinefwr / Dynefor Castle Woods – Llandeilo

Dinefwr-Dynefor-Castle-Woods-Nature-reserve-Llandeilo photo L Maiden

Bluebell woods surround this ancient castle standing proud over Llandeilo

Castle Woods – downloadable version of this leaflet for printing (114 KB)

Return to Carmarthenshire Reserves Information Page

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 186 Llandeilo & Brechfa Forest. Main entrance: SN623223, Site centre: SN614218

Status Notified SSSI and Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Tenure Freehold purchased in 1979 with funds from the Dyfed Wildlife Appeal, and grant aid from the Countryside Commission & WWF.

Size 25.5 ha (63 acres).

Location and Access Notes

2 km west of Llandeilo, adjacent to Dinefwr Park. Visitors can park next to the fire station off the A40 and walk down Dinefwr Park Drive. From Pen Lan Park there is a small footpath

Dinefwr Castle by V Matthews

Dinefwr Castle by V Matthews

into the woods and roadside parking is also available at Towy Bridge. Visitors are asked to avoid entering the private drive to Newtown House. Wheelchair access to bottom of reserve only (footpaths can be steep).

Public transport Train station at Llandeilo, on the Swansea to Shrewsbury route. Bus numbers X13 from Swansea and 280 from Carmarthen to Llandovery.

Description: Lowland mixed deciduous woodland, castle and quarry on the Llandeilo series of Ordovician rock which is of national importance.

Castle Woods is comprised of two areas of ancient semi-natural woodland with veteran trees on the steep south and west-facing slope that overlooks the River Tywi. Pendunculate Oak is interspersed with Ash, Beech and Sycamore, with 45% of the Elm having been lost to disease. The understory is comprised of Holly, Hazel, Elder, and Spindle.

The woodland floor is carpeted with Bluebell (4-6), Dog’s Mercury (2-4), Primrose (2-5) and Wood Anemone (3-5), Toothwort (3-5) can be found on the roots of the Wych Elm. The woodland is rich in mosses and lichens, including the large Lungwort.

The breeding bird assemblage includes Great Spotted, Lesser Spotted and Green Woodpecker, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Redstart, Pied and Spotted Flycatcher. Resident birds of prey include Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and Tawny Owl. The floodplain grassland below the wood holds numbers of roosting wildfowl including Goosander, Mallard, Pochard, Shoveler, Teal, Tufted Duck with Pintail, Whooper Swan and Wigeon, in winter.

Comma Butterfly, Photo By Amy Lewis

Comma Butterfly, Photo By Amy Lewis

Butterflies are well represented, including Comma (3-5 + 7-9), Silver-washed Fritillary (6-8) and Speckled Wood (4-10) and mammals include Fallow Deer and Badger.

The ruins of Dinefwr castle occupy an impressive position above the Tywi water meadows to the west of the site. Dinefwr was the capital of Deheubarth, then West Wales, and a stronghold of the ruling Princes of Wales. The castle was a ruin by 1523, and is being restored by Cadw under a Deed of Guardianship with the Trust and is open to visitors (wheelchair access into the main castle walls).

Coed Wern Ddu, Llanerch

Comma butterfly by Amy Lewis

Coed Wern Ddu – downloadable version of this leaflet for printing (91 KB)

Return to Carmarthenshire Reserves Information Page

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 177 Carmarthen & Kidwelly. Main entrance: SN373179, Site centre: SN374178

Tenure The site was given to the Trust in 1981 during the Dyfed Wildlife Appeal by Mr and Mrs Dunn.

Size 1 ha (2.5 acres).

Location and Access Notes
Public transport: No known public transport access.
4 km west of Carmarthen. From the A40 west of Carmarthen, take the B4312 to Johnstown

Coed Wern Ddu

Coed Wern Ddu

and then follow an unclassified road through Llanllwch for 3 km to Wern Ddu. Cars may be parked near Wern Ddu farm with the owner’s permission.

Description:

Mixed deciduous and wet woodland and stream.

Wern Ddu is a long strip of mature Oak woodland with a stream running the length of the site. Sessile Oak predominates with Wych Elm, and Downy Birch.

There is an understorey of Rowan, Holly, Guelder Rose (6-7), and Gorse, with Honeysuckle (6-9), Field and Dog Rose (6-7). There are large specimens of Beech in the drier areas. There is an abundant ground flora in spring with Bluebell (4-6), Early Purple Orchid (4-5), Foxglove (5-7), Primrose (2-5) and Wood Anemone (3-5).

A variety of bryophytes and ferns occur, including the rare moss Cephaloziella turneri. This woodland area provides a good habitat for birds, and several species of butterfly and moth, particularly during the late summer months.

Comma butterfly by Amy Lewis

Comma butterfly by Amy Lewis

Towards the south-west, the vegetation is more mixed with grasses, Rosebay Willowherb, Herb Robert and some Ash. As the plot narrows and becomes shadier, Garlic Mustard, Creeping Buttercup, Sow-thistle and various grasses are found.

Cors Goch, Llanllwch

Cors Goch

Cors Goch – downloadable version of this leaflet for printing (89 KB)

Return to Carmarthenshire Reserves Information Page

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 177 Carmarthen and Kidwelly. Main entrances: SN370187 & SN363185. Site centre: SN365186

Status A notified SSSI and part of the Cors Goch Llanllwch NNR.

Tenure Parts of the site were purchased in 1980 and 1983 with grant aid from the NHMF, NCC, and WWF.

Size 11.2 ha (27.6 acres).

Location and Access Notes
Public transport: Bus numbers 244, 322, 222 & 224 from Carmarthen stop near the Showground.

Cors Goch

Cors Goch

5.5 km south west of Carmarthen. Access is obtained by way of a track from the A40 Carmarthen to St Clears road some 6 km west of Carmarthen near the guesthouse. The track crosses the railway line, where great care should be taken. Some cars may be parked at Cwm Coch Farm, with the owner’s permission. At the eastern end there is also access via the Showground.

Description: Cors Goch is part of a lowland raised mire and is one of the last six large raised bogs in Wales. The bog originated as a lake amongst clays, sands and gravels, deposited by the ice sheet and now forms the typical dome shape of raised bogs. The mire has a depth of up to 5 m of peat, which contains evidence of an uninterrupted environmental record of over 8000 years, Carmarthenshire’s most complete record of past vegetation history.

The western section has former drainage channels cut across it from east to west linking with the main ditch on the western boundary. These channels contain areas of Sphagnum moss, with Bog Asphodel (7-9), Cranberry (5-7), Round-leaved Sundew (6-8), Marsh Cinquefoil (6-7), Narrow Buckler-fern, and Royal Fern. Heather (8-10) and Cross-leaved Heath (6-9) dominate large areas of the reserve, while Bog Myrtle (4-5) makes impressive stands in a Purple Moor Grass sward in the southern and western parts of the site. Other notable plants include Oblong-leaved Sundew and White Beak Sedge.

Round leaved sundew by Vicky Nall (c)

Round leaved sundew by Vicky Nall (c)

Alder carr and Downy Birch make up most of the southern boundary.

Marsh Fritillary (6-7) has been recorded, together with Bog Bush-cricket (5-11) and Black Darter (7-9), and the site contains up to 300 colonies of the national biodiversity priority species, the Black Bog Ant. This species was discovered in 1991 and is known from only one other site in Wales (Rhossili Down SSSI, Gower).

Cors Pum Heol, Five Roads

Bogbean by Amy Lewis

Cors Pum Heol downloadable version of this leaflet for printing (104 KB)

Return to Carmarthenshire Reserves Information Page

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 178 Llanelli and Ammanford. Main entrance: SN484048, Site centre: SN486047

Tenure Leased from the Stradey Estate for 21 years from 25th March 1993.

Size 4.86 hectares (12 acres).

Location and Access Notes
Public transport: Bus numbers 194 & 195 from Llanelli stop at Five Roads.
Take the B4309 (Pontyates-Llanelli via Five Roads).

Cors Pum Heol L Wilberforce

Cors Pum Heol L Wilberforce

At Five Roads, take the unclassified road to Trimsaran (Gelli Fawr Road). Park by the sub-station.  Access is by crossing fields

which are behind and adjacent to the sub-station. This is permissible under the terms of the lease.

Description:

The reserve consists of unimproved “boggy” rhos-like pasture dominated by Purple Moor Grass, occupying a topographical depression at the headwaters of the Afon Dulais near Pum Heol (Five Roads), Llanelli.

Whilst rhos pastures are a particular feature of Carmarthenshire, many have been lost to agricultural improvements and other more general developments. The result is that such habitats have become fragmented or reduced to such a size that the long-term viability is questionable.

Bogbean by Amy Lewis

Bogbean by Amy Lewis

The most notable species present is the Royal Fern, Osmunda regalis which occurs in boggy habitats and can grow to a spectacular 6 feet or more. Bilberry and Bog Bean both occur in the Sphagnum-filled depressions in the north-west. Bog Asphodel can also be seen.

The surrounding periphery consists of scrub with species including Rowan, Oak and Willow.
Birds such as Tree Pipits and Whitethroat have been seen, as well as invertebrates such as the Emperor Moth.

 

Ffrwd Farm Mire, Pembrey

Water vole by Amy Lewis

Ffrwd Farm Mire downloadable version of this leaflet for printing (117 KB)

Return to Carmarthenshire Reserves Information Page

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 178 Llanelli & Ammanford. Main entrance:SN418021, Site centre: SN420026

Status Notified as part of the Gwernedd Pembre SSSI.

Tenure The site was purchased in 1983 with grant aid from the Llanelli Naturalists’ Society, NHMF, NCC, and WWF. A further area was subsequently leased from the Coal Authority, and the Llanelli Naturalists’ Society have owned a further 1.2 ha (3 acres) since 1979.

Size 19 ha (47 acres).

Location and Access Notes

Public transport: Bus number X11 from Llanelli or Carmarthen stops at the end of the B4317 on the Penybedd Road.

Ffrwd Farm Mire L Wilberforce

Ffrwd Farm Mire L Wilberforce

0.5 km north of Pembrey, 3 km south of Kidwelly. Access or views can be obtained from three locations: the gate near the southern corner adjoining the B4317 road, the northern corner off a minor road near the level crossing of a disused railway near Ty Mawr farm, and the right of way on the towpath of the disused Ashburnham canal.
Description:

Fen, reedbed, relict sand dune, and rough pasture.

Ffrwd Farm Mire lies 4 m above sea level inland from the extensive Tywyn and Pembrey sand dune complex. It is the least disturbed remnant of the fenland, which once stretched from Kidwelly to Burry Port.

There is a transition across this site from relict sand dune and rough pasture through species rich fen to reedbed and open water. The wetland habitats support Marsh Marigold (3-6), Bog Bean (4-6), and Marsh Orchids (6-7), with a variety of scarcer plants such as Bird’s-foot (5-6), Floating Club-rush, Tubular Water Dropwort (7-9) and Water Dock, as well as RDB plants such as the near threatened Marsh Pea (6-8), and vulnerable Frogbit (7-8).

Water vole by Amy Lewis

Water vole by Amy Lewis

The open water habitats support a varied dragonfly population including the Hairy Dragonfly (5-6) and Variable Damselfly (6-7).

The Slender Ground Hopper (8-7) and Short Winged Conehead (5-8) occur in the drier habitats, and a handsome black and orange fenland hoverfly Tropidia scita (5-10, peak 6-7) can be seen feeding on the profusion of nectar rich wetland flowers.

The reedbed supports breeding Cetti’s Warbler, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Willow Warbler, with Mallard, Moorhen and Water Rail. Winter brings Snipe and Teal, with occasional visits from Bittern, Marsh Harrier and Peregrine. Water Vole has also been seen here.

Poor Man’s Wood / Gallt y Tlodion, Llandovery

Poor Mans Wood Arch L Wilberforce

Return to Carmarthenshire Reserves Information Page

Gallt y Tlodion or Poor Man’s Wood downloadable version of this leaflet for printing (109 KB)

Grid References O.S. Explorer Map 187 Llandovery. Site centre: SN784356, Main entrance: SN781351

Tenure Leased from Llandovery Town Council since 1983.

Size 16.7 ha (41 acres).

Location and Access Notes

Poor Mans Wood Arch L Wilberforce

Poor Mans Wood Arch L Wilberforce

Public transport Shrewsbury to Swansea train service calls at Llandovery, from where the reserve is a 25 minute walk. There are bus services between Llandeilo, Llandovery and Brecon, but no known nearby bus stops. Bus stop is in town centre and is a 25 minute walk to the reserve.

2 km east north east of Llandovery. The reserve can be accessed by way of an unclassified road, which leaves the A40 at SN778343, and terminates at the Dan yr Allt Farm at the southern end of the adjacent Forestry Commission woodland. Cars can only be parked near the entrance to the lane. A public right of way gives access to the reserve from 300 m down the track after the bungalow. Tracks and paths can be muddy and steep.

Description:

Ancient upland Oak woodland and stream.

Poor Man’s Wood is a Sessile Oak wood with a Hazel understorey, on a hillside with a northerly aspect. The canopy also includes Rowan, Holly, Crab Apple, Sallow, Ash, and Elder, with a few Beech at the northwest end. There is a small quantity of Wild Service trees, a local species.

Nuthatch by Steve Waterhouse

Nuthatch by Steve Waterhouse

The ground flora is more limited on the upper slopes, with Bilberry (5-6) and abundant moss carpets but a wider range of woodland flowers occur lower down including Bluebell (4-6), Wood Anemone (3-4), Wood Sorrel (4-5), Ground Ivy (3-5), Lesser Celandine (3-5), Yellow Archangel (5-6), Campion and Wood Violet. Epiphytes are abundant. A stream marks the northern boundary, but there are relatively few wet flushes. Acidic rocks outcrop near the stream, and moisture-loving bryophytes such as the sub-oceanic temperate “liverwort looking” moss, Hookera lucens grow well.

The breeding bird assemblage, typical of this upland Oak woodland habitat, includes Blackcap, Buzzard, Nuthatch, Pied Flycatcher, and Wood Warbler, with both Great and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker having been seen. Buzzards also nest in the wood and mammals include Badger.

The woodland was donated to the town of Llandovery by Vicar Pritchard, the author of ‘Canwell y Cymry – The Welshman’s Candle’ in the sixteenth century, one of his conditions being that the Council and townsfolk of Llandovery could “on foot only, enter on the property demised, for the purpose of taking dead wood for fuel, being such amount that they can carry on their backs.” The wood was also used for lead mining in the nineteenth century. Coppicing has been carried out towards the town end.

Nant Melin, Llandovery

Globe flower -Trollius europaeus by BerndH

Nant Melin downloadable version of this leaflet for printing (109 KB)

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 187 Llandovery. Main entrance: SN729466, Site centre: SN728467

Status The reserve forms part of the Cwm Doethie-Mynydd Mallaen Oakwoods Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Tenure The site was leased from 1969 by the Trust and subsequently purchased in 1973.

Description

Ancient upland Oak woodland and waterfalls.

The reserve is made up of 2.4 ha of deciduous woodland and about 0.5 ha of rough pasture in the upper Tywi catchment. The woodland lies on the steep Nant Melin valley side, the wet pasture above lying on a much gentler slope.

The Nant Melin stream forms the eastern boundary flowing over a series of small but impressive waterfalls. Above the fence at the western end, the slope lessens, and the habitat changes to pasture, while a small stream marks the northern boundary, with two small fields beyond. Several wet flushes arise in these fields, and flow down to meet other springs which emerge in the woodland.

 

Nant Melyn map

Rhos Cefn Bryn, Llannon

Marsh Fritillary by MJ Clark

Rhos Cefn Bryn downloadable version of this leaflet for printing (109 KB)

Return to Carmarthenshire Reserves Information Page

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 178, Llanelli and Ammanford. Main entrance: SN557073, Site centre: SN555071

Status Notified as part of the Gwernedd Pembre SSSI.

Tenure Freehold owned since 1995 with support from CCW and NHMF.

Size 6 ha (14.8 acres).

Location and Access Notes

Rhos Cefn Bryn L Wilberforce

Rhos Cefn Bryn L Wilberforce

Public transport Bus numbers 128 and 196 from Carmarthen and Llanelli to Llannon, no buses run directly past the site.
1 mile south east of the village of Llannon.
Take the B4306 road from Llannon and turn left at the cross-roads. Follow a small track 600 m on the right, and the field is a few hundred metres to the south of Tir Lan. Roadside parking in Llannon or on the lane just before Tir Lan farm, access via track from Tir Lan Farm. No footpaths; not accessible for wheelchairs.

Description:

Rhos Cefn Bryn consists of unimproved acid grassland. This type of grassland is generally confined to west Wales and is a feature associated with Carmarthenshire and south Ceredigion. Such habitats are becoming scarcer resulting in the loss of important areas for many specialised species of birds, reptiles and insects.

The reserve is made up of two fields (Cefn Bryn and Tir Lan). These are dominated by Purple Moor Grass and together with other plants such as Cross-leaved Heath and Heather (Ling), Cotton Grass, Bog Asphodel (7-8), Bog Myrtle (4-5), Marsh Lousewort (5-9) and Devil’s-bit Scabious (6-10), the larval food-plant of the Marsh Fritillary, form a ‘rhos-like’ pasture, which has received traditional management over previous years.

Marsh Fritillary by MJ Clark

Marsh Fritillary by MJ Clark

The reserve supports a thriving population of the endangered and declining Marsh Fritillary butterfly, which can be seen from May until September and the caterpillars can be found in larval webs most conspicuous during September and October. Other invertebrates present include the Marbled White and Small Copper butterflies and the Six-spot Burnet moth.

Dormice can be found in the wooded areas at both ends of the fields and in the adjacent hedgerow and are most active between July and October. Adders and Common Lizard can be seen basking in the sun during the summer months.

Ground nesting birds such as Meadow Pipit and Snipe feed on the plentiful supply of insects in the grassland, and Reed Bunting can be seen feeding amongst the scrub and Willow carr.