Cemaes Head

Thrift by Anna Guthrie, this flower is seen flowering at Cemaes Head

Cemaes Head is the most northerly of the many fine headlands on the Pembrokeshire coast and overlooks the broad sweep of the mouth of the Teifi estuary towards the Trust’s Cardigan Island Nature Reserve.

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 198 Cardigan & New Quay. Main entrances: SN135495 & SN130497, Site centre: SN131500

Status SSSI.

Tenure Purchased by the Trust in 1984 with help from the Countryside Commission, Dyfed County Council, NCC and WWF.

Thrift by Anna Guthrie, this flower is seen flowering at Cemaes Head

Thrift by Anna Guthrie

Size 20 ha (49.4 acres).

Cemaes Head downloadable version of this leaflet for printing (118 KB) or Return to the Pembrokeshire Main Page

Location and Access Notes

Public transport the Poppit Rocket runs between Cardigan and Newport, passing close to the reserve. for timetables.

There is a car park at Poppit Sands (SN152484). Take the coastal footpath north west, about 2 km to the reserve boundry. During the summer months there is a car park at SN135493.


A whole range of features are exhibited from the sheltered eastern side to that exposed tothe full force of the south westerly Atlantic weather. For the most part the headland comprises steep, at places extremely steep, slopes which eventually give way to cliffs of various heights, though generally no more than 100 m or so. These cliffs are intersected by gullies and at places sea caves and small beaches. The geology of Cemaes Head is mainly Silurian sedimentary rocks of the Devonian series.

There are areas of Pony and Rabbit-grazed maritime grassland on the more exposed western slopes. This grassland is comprised of Red Fescue (5-7) and Thrift (4-10), and has abundant Spring Squill (4-5) and Sea Plantain (6-8). Patches of maritime heath with Heather (Ling) (7-9), Bell Heather (7-9) and Western Gorse (7-9) occur on the highest parts, and Bracken is abundant, especially on the more sheltered eastern slopes where control is necessary. Climbing Corydalis (5-9) is found amongst the Bracken, whilst the seabird cliffs support the large fleshy-leaved variety of Buck’s-horn Plantain (5-8).

There are extensive areas of close-cropped sward on the west side of the Head formed through Pony grazing, which is an advantage to the small Chough population, consisting of one breeding pair on the reserve and one other just outside the boundary, although the site is used by many others for foraging. Small numbers of Herring Gulls, Fulmars and Shags breed, together with a colony of Cormorants. Other species of note include Peregrines, Kestrel, Raven, Wheatear, Stonechat and Skylarks, which breed on the reserve. Grey Seals haul out on inaccessible beaches in the winter and breed in the late summer, and are sometimes to be seen swimming offshore, as are schools of Dolphins and Porpoises.

Mammals include Rabbits and Bank Voles.

Cemaes Head

Dowrog Common

Male Hairy Dragonfly by Vicky Nall, this dragonfly can be seen on Dowrog Common

An extensive tract of wet and dry heath with pools and fen, in the upper reaches of the River Alun. This diverse site supports over 350 species of flowering plants including the Lesser Butterfly Orchid (6-7) Dowrog Common downloadable version of this leaflet for printing (124 KB) or Return to the Pembrokeshire Main Page Grid References O.S. Explorer map OL36 North Pembrokeshire. Main entrance: SM772274 Site centre: SM772270 Status Notified as a SSSI and part of the north-west Pembrokeshire Commons cSAC. Tenure Leased from the National Trust.

Male Hairy Dragonfly by Vicky Nall, this dragonfly can be seen on Dowrog Common

Male Hairy Dragonfly by Vicky Nall

Size 101 ha (242 acres). Location and Access Notes Public transport Puffin Shuttle and Celtic Coaster from St Davids. Info from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. St Davids visitor centre (01437) 720392. Road goes through reserve. Small off road parking area by cattle grid. Very wet in places; not accessible for wheelchairs. Description: . The wet heath supports Western Gorse (7-9), Heather (Ling) (7-9), Cross-leaved Heath (7-9) and Bell Heather (7-9), with Purple Moor Grass, Common Fleabane (8-9) and Hemp-agrimony (7-9) on the riverside marsh and fen, along with Grey Willow. Many rare oceanic heath and marsh plants occur on the reserve, including Yellow Centaury (8-9), Pale Dog-violet (5-6), Wavy St. John’s Wort (7-9), Three-lobed Crowfoot and Pilwort. There are several small pools colonised by Bog Pondweed and Marsh St. John’s Wort (6-9). To the western end of the reserve lies Dowrog Pool, a seasonal pond which reduces to 6 ha of open water during dry periods. The pool is surrounded by a swamp of Reedmace, Water Horsetail, Marsh Cinquefoil (6-7) and Bogbean (5-7). Further pools have been excavated on the reserve to enhance this important habitat for Odonata and to encourage the spread of the rare Pilwort. The site supports a diverse and interesting range of invertebrates including the Marsh Fritillary butterfly, Scarlet Tiger moth, Small Red Damselfly, Hairy Dragonfly and Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly. Rare flies include Colobaea bifasciella and C. distincta and notable beetles include Bradycellus collaris and Galerucella calmarfensis. Wintering wildfowl and birds of prey proliferate on the Common. Hen Harrier roost on site, and Short-eared Owl and Merlin are regular winter visitors. Bewick’s and Whooper Swans, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler and Mallard can be seen in winter along with Snipe, Water Rail, Coot and Moorhen, particulary around Dowrog Pool. The wetland areas also support breeding Grasshopper Warbler, Reed Bunting and Sedge Warbler. Otters regularly visit the site and Water Shrews have also been recorded. Dowrog Common

Goodwick Moor

Bogbean by Amy Lewis

Goodwick Moor downloadable version of this leaflet for printing(117 KB) or Return to the Pembrokeshire Main Page

Grid References O.S. Explorer map OL35 North Pembrokeshire. Main entrance: SM947374, Site centre: SM945375

Status Proposed LNR.

Tenure Leased from Pembrokeshire County Council.

Bogbean by Amy Lewis

Bogbean by Amy Lewis

Size 15.4 ha (38 acres).

Location and Access Notes

Public transport

Bus services 410 & 404 from Fishguard Square. Strumble Shuttle 3 days/week winter, daily in summer from Fishguard Square. For timetable contact Pembrokeshire Coast National Park (01437) 720392.

Situated near the A40 trunk road between Goodwick and Fishguard. Access is along a track from A40 (SM949375) beside the Seaview Hotel.


Reed bed, flood plain mire, carr, scrub, and a complex network of ditches.

The reserve lies between two streams, which combine at its north east corner. Water levels are at their highest from October to April and the entire moor can often be flooded when spring tides coincide with heavy rain.

The extensive reedbed covers much of the reserve, with Sea Rush and Sea Aster (7-10) being well represented at the seaward side. Species of interest on the flood plain mire include Common Cotton Sedge (6-7) and Royal Fern. In the drier area, Willow and Alder carr woodland is prominent, with Bog Myrtle (4-5) occurring where Willow has been cut back. The ditches include Glaucous Bulrush, Bogbean (5-7), Branched Burr Reed (6-8), Water Mint (7-10) and Bog Pondweed (5-10).

The reed bed and fringe support Sedge and Reed Warblers, whilst the low scrub and carr wood support Stonechats and Willow Warblers. Swallows roost and Snipe and Siskins overwinter here. Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk are also present. Cetti’s Warbler and Bittern have also been recorded as winter visitors.

Invertebrates including moths, dragonflies, damselflies and butteflies are fairly well represented and include Comma, Painted Lady and Ringlet.

Otters and Water Vole are notable mammals present on this reserve.

Entrance via a footbridge. Boardwalk through reserve; not accessible for wheelchairs.
Goodwick Moor

Llangloffan Fen

Yellow Flag Iris

Description: The reserve comprises the western end of one of the largest remaining floodplains or valley mires in Wales, supporting tall fen, fen meadow, wet heath and carr communities and associated species. An area of semi-improved pasture is also part of the reserve.

Return to the Pembrokeshire Main Page

Grid References O.S. Explorer map OL35 North Pembrokeshire. Main entrance:SM895316, Site centre: SM896318

Status Notified SSSI, NNR. Afonydd Cleddau Cleddau Rivers SAC.

Tenure Owned since 1984.

Yellow Flag Iris seen on Llangloffan Fen by Amy Lewis

Yellow Flag Iris by Amy Lewis

Size 15.8 ha (41 acres).

Location and Access Notes

Public transport Richard Bros Bus 411 departs every 2 hours from Fishguard Square. Bus 411 departs Haverfordwest 10am & 12am (1 1⁄2 hr journey).

There is a car park with parking for no more than 8 vehicles, access by gate from Castlemorris to Mathry road B4331. There is a circular footpath through the reserve with a boardwalk leading to a bird hide overlooking one of the reserve’s many areas of open water. Not accessible for wheelchairs.

The site is bordered to the north and south by arable fields or intensively managed grassland; to the east it is continuous with the central section of the SSSI, while to the west there is a small area of Willow carr. Amongst the species present are Marsh Cinquefoil (6-7), Yellow Flag (5-7), Purple Moor Grass, and tall fen meadows dominated by Meadowsweet (6-9) and areas of 1-2 m high tussocks of Greater Tussock-sedge. Water Dock (7-9) occurs frequently in the wettest parts of the fen.

The site is 60 metres above sea level and once drained westwards to the sea at Aber Mawr. It was later modified by glacial melt water and ultimately blocked by glacial deposits thereby reversing the flow. This left a small central watercourse meandering through flat waterlogged ground, which supports high densities of Trout, particularly fry. Bullhead, River Lamprey, and Brook Lamprey, all features of the SAC have been recorded here.

The ornithological interest is greater in the eastern section of the NNR where Corncrake, Quail and Spotted Crake have all been recorded within the past 5 years. The development of dense rank growth dominated by Nettles along the southern bank of the river in the Trust reserve may offer suitable habitat for Corncrake, and Grasshopper Warblers are amongst the breeding species currently to be found. Barn Owls and Hen Harriers have been recorded hunting over the reserve.

The wetland is a classic haunt of the Otter and home to a remnant Water Vole population and Otters, Polecats and Badger all use the reserve.

A number of Red Data Book, Notable and local invertebrate species occur and the reserve is also well used by reptiles and amphibians.

Llangloffan Fen Leaflet

Llanerch Alder Carr

Nuthatch seen at Llanerch Alder Carr by Steve Waterhouse

Llanerch Alder Carr downloadable leaflet for printing (136KB) or Return to the Pembrokeshire Main Page

Grid References O.S. Explorer map OL35 North Pembrokeshire. Main entrance:SN058352, Site centre: SN055350

Status Notified SSSI, part the north Pembrokeshire SAC.

Tenure Owned since 1993.

Nuthatch seen at Llanerch Alder Carr by Steve Waterhouse

Nuthatch by Steve Waterhouse

Size 2 ha (4.9 acres).

Location and Access Notes
Public transport during summer the Presseli Green Dragon bus runs through the Gwaun valley between Crymych and Newport. Contact Pembrokeshire Coast National Park for timetable (01239) 820912.

The reserve is situated at the eastern end of the Gwaun Valley, south of Llanerch Farm.
No easy footpaths. Access restricted. Contact the Pembrokeshire Wildlife Trust Officer for more details.


This Alder carr remnant has developed over the deep, poorly drained peaty soils of the valley floor and is a good example of a once much more widespread woodland type, that existed on poorly drained sites. The Alder carr is particularly old, supporting a rich epiphytic flora of lichens, bryophytes and polypodys. The lichen interest was subject to a survey in 1985 (Wolsley). The more notable lichen species recorded were Cetrelia olivetorum, Menegazzia terebrata, Nephroma parile and Ochrolechia inversa.

Tree species include Alder, Hazel, Willow and Sessile Oak with an understorey of Guelder Rose and Hawthorn. Ground flora includes Tussock Sedge as a dominant species, with Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage (4-5), Marsh-marigold (3-5) and Hemlock Water-dropwort (6-7). Other species present include Common Marsh-bedstraw (6-8), Meadowsweet (6-9), Wild Angelica (6-9) and Bladder Sedge – found here at one of its few Pembrokeshire locations.

Birds present on site include Great, Blue, Coal, Marsh and Long-tailed Tits, Goldcrests, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Treecreeper, with Pied Flycatchers also nesting. These species are augmented in winter by visiting Water Rail and Woodcock.

Invertebrate groups well represented include true flies, longhorn beetles and harvestmen. Mammals that use the reserve include Shrews, Bank Voles and Badgers. Frogs are also plentiful.

Llanerch Alder Carr

Pembroke Upper Mill Pond

Pembroke Upper Mill Pond (97.8 KB) Return to the Pembrokeshire Main Page

Grid References O.S. Explorer map OL36 South Pembrokeshire. Site centre: SM993016

Status Proposed LNR.

Tenure Leased from a private owner since 1979.

Size 5 ha (12 acres).

Location and Access Notes

Public transport accessible from Pembroke town centre on foot.

Little grebe by Margaret Holland

Little grebe by Margaret Holland

Parking in Pembroke or roadside, public footpath from railway embankment (SM991014) or from stile on the A4075. Footpath; not accessible to wheelchairs. Access through woodlands to the north of the site is being developed which will include car park at SM996016.


Pond with developing reed bed, fen and carr, adjoining woodland.

The pond was formerly part of a tidal creek which extended eastwards from below Pembroke Castle. The reserve forms the eastern extremity of this creek. Barriers to tidal movement occurred with the construction of a tidal mill in the 13th century and a dam in 1975.

The vegetation represents a transition from estuarine to freshwater conditions. Lesser Duckweed and Horned Pondweed occur in the open water with emergent vegetation dominated by Common Reed. Estuarine species present include Sea Club Rush, Salt Marsh Rush and Sea Arrow Grass. At the eastern end is an area of fen and carr vegetation, characterised by Grey Willow and Alder, with an understorey of Yellow Iris, Hemp-agrimony, Purple Loosestrife and Water Forget-me-not.

Birds are varied due to the change in habitats across the site. On the water can be seen Little Grebe, Heron, Mute Swan, Mallard, Moorhen, Cormorant, Teal, Coot, Kingfisher, Tufted Duck and Pochard. Treecreepers, Willow Warbler, and several Tits are among the woodland birds.

There is a wide variety of aquatic invertebrates such as Freshwater Shrimp and Water Louse, with gastropod molluscs including the Ramshorn Smail and Jenkins Spite Shell. Other invertebrates include pond-skaters, Waterboatmen and damselflies. Four species of fish have been recorded: Three-spined Stickleback, Common Eel, Trout and Flounder, and Frogs are also common. Otters can also be found using the ponds and reed bed.

Pembroke Upper Mill Pond


Pengelli Forest

Silver-washed fritillary by Don Sutherland seen in Pengelli Forest

Pengelli Forest Leaflet or Return to the Pembrokeshire Main Page

Grid References O.S. Explorer map OL35 North Pembrokeshire. Main entrance: SN123396, Site centre: SN130393.

Status NNR. This reserve is notified as the Pengelli Forest and Pant-Teg Wood SSSI, which in turn is part of the North Pembrokeshire Woodlands SAC.

Tenure Owned since 1988.

Silver-washed fritillary by Don Sutherland seen in Pengelli Forest

Silver-washed fritillary by Don Sutherland

Size 65 ha (160.5 acres).

Location and Access Notes

Public transport bus number 412 Cardigan to Haverfordwest via Fishguard.

The reserve is about 2.5 km from Felindre Farchog via road and lane. Limited roadside parking is available at the entrance. There are easy walks near the entrance but no wheelchair access; elsewhere paths can be muddy and steep.


Pengelli Forest is part of the largest block of ancient Oak woodland in west Wales. The woodland can be broadly divided into two sections. Adjacent to the entrance is Pant-Teg Wood, the steep slopes supporting woodland dominated by Sessile Oak and Birch regrown from clear-felling during 1914-1930. Dense canopy shade has inhibited the understorey growth of Hazel and Holly. The ground flora is characteristic of acid Sessile Oak woodland with Wavy Hair-grass, Common Cow Wheat and Bilberry, with numerous moss species. Three trees of the native Wild Crab Apple are present and valley bottoms support Alder and Willow.

The main body of Pengelli Forest with its gently undulating topography and many small streams has developed on poorly drained boulder clay soils. The woodland – owned and described in detail in Elizabethan times by the noted Pembrokeshire historian George Owen- was once very important to the local economy as a source of timber, and was grazed by livestock that were confined within a bank and ditch. The canopy comprises a mixture of Birch, Ash and Alder with a wide range of hybrid Oaks. Over much of the site there is a dense understorey of Bramble, Hazel, Honeysuckle, Hawthorn and Holly. This is the only known location for the Midland Hawthorn in Pemrokeshire and Aspen, Goat Willow, Wild Cherry, Wych Elm and Apple are also to be found.

Pengelli Forest

Pengelli Forest

The varied ground flora includes Wood Millet, Wood Sedge, Moschatel, Wood Anemone, Violets and Golden Saxifrage. Adder’s Tongue Fern, Early Dog-violet and Water Avens also occur.

Among the rich diversity of mammals are Badgers, Polecats, Woodmice and Bank Voles. Dormice, though seldom seen, leave the remains of Hazel nuts with the characteristic teeth marks. The rare Barbastelle bat is one of eight species of bat which roost and forage in the woodland. Frogs and newts breed in the wetter areas while Common Lizard and Slow Worm may also be found.
Interesting invertebrates include the Oil Beetle, Dark and Speckled Bush Crickets, and woodland butterflies including the White Letter and Purple Hairstreaks, and Silver-washed Fritillary.

The range of birds is typical of such a woodland with species including Redstart, Wood Warbler, Buzzard, Chiffchaff, Tawny Owl and Sparrowhawk with Woodcock visiting in winter. These species were augmented in the 1980s by the Pied Flycatcher, which used nestboxes erected by the Trust.

Pengelli Forest map

Skokholm Island

Bottlenose dolphin by Harry Hogg

Grid References O.S. Explorer map OL36 South Pembrokeshire. Site centre: SM735050

Status SSSI and part of a cSAC, MNR and SPA.

Tenure Leased from the Dale Estate since 1948, and then purchased in 2006 with support from National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Tubney Trust, CCW and a public appeal.

Bottlenose dolphin by Harry Hogg

Bottlenose dolphin by Harry Hogg

Size 100 ha (260 acres).

Location and Access Notes

Public transport not applicable.

The island is south west of the Marloes Peninsula, next to Skomer Island. Access is restricted to residential visitors and occasional Trust-organised day visits during the summer. Contact the Trust at Cilgerran for more details.

Skokholm downloadable version of this leaflet is available (120 KB) and more information about the island is available on our Skokholm Pages or Return to the Pembrokeshire Main Page



The plateau of this island slopes gently from 50 metres to around 20 metres above the cliff tops in the east. It is composed mostly of Old Red Sandstone. The farm buildings forming the current accommodation were probably built early in the 18th century. By the beginning of the 20th century, the island had lain derelict for some time. Ronald Lockley then took a lease in 1927, repaired the buildings and gradually built up the Bird Observatory, which operated until 1976 apart from periods during the war years. In 1916 the lighthouse was built, which is now automatic.

The flora is typical of sub-maritime grassland, grading into heath in places although heavily affected by the resident Rabbit population. The site supports a number of plant species of limited distribution like Three-lobed Water Crowfoot, Tree Mallow and Rock Sea Spurrey as well as Small Nettle, more commonly found in the east. Thrift and Sea Campion occur on the south and west coasts. The wetland areas support Mudweed, Broad-leaved Pondweed, Marsh St. John’s Wort and Shoreweed, with Lesser Skullcap and Allseed nearby. Saltmarsh species include Sea Milkwort and Common Sea Purslane. An assemblage of nationally scarce and rare lichens occur including the scheduled Golden Hair lichen Teloschistes flavicans.

The island is famed for its Manx Shearwaters and Storm Petrels and also supports strong colonies of Puffin, as well as Razorbills and Guillemots. There is a large colony of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls are also present. The island is a breeding site for Oystercatchers and Chough as well as Skylark and Wheatear, and is well known for its migrant birds including Chiffchaff, Willow Warblers, Whitethroat, Spotted and Pied Flycatchers and Redstart. Rare birds have included Spoonbill, Hoopoe, Wryneck, Bluethroat, Glossy Ibis, Purple Heron, Golden Oriole and Lapland Bunting.

There are no indigenous mammals, but a large and unusually varied population of Rabbits was introduced by the Normans. House Mice were accidentally introduced in the late 19th century and the only reptile on the island is the Slow Worm. Grey Seals breed and haul out on the foreshore and other marine mammals to be seen include Porpoise and Common Dolphin.

Return to the Pembrokeshire Main Page

Skomer Island

Manx shearwater on Skomer by Dave Boyle

Skomer downloadable version of this leaflet for printing (231 KB) or Return to the Pembrokeshire Main Page

Grid References O.S. Explorer map OL36 South Pembrokeshire. Site centre: SM725095

Status SSI, NNR, Special Protection Area, Scheduled Ancient Monument and Geological Conservation Review Site.

Tenure Leased from CCW.

Manx shearwater on Skomer by Dave Boyle

Manx shearwater by Dave Boyle

Size 292 ha (721 acres).

Location and Access Notes

Public transport not applicable

Situated at the southern end of St. Bride’s Bay. Access to the island is by boat from Martin’s Haven during the summer period, Tuesday – Sunday. Car parking, boat and landing fees apply. Contact the Trust for accommodation details. Dogs are prohibited.


The most important seabird site in southern Britain with maritime grassland, lusher inland vegetation, streams and man-made ponds. Rich in historical remains.

Most of the island is 60 metres above sea level and is intersected by a series of ridges, the highest being near the centre at 75 metres high. At one point the island is nearly bisected, except for a narrow isthmus. Considerable evidence of human occupation in prehistoric times includes early field systems, huts and enclosures. The current farm buildings were erected in 1834 and the island managed as a farm, then passing through four different owners. The buildings were severely damaged by a storm in 1954 and renovation of the outbuildings started in 2005. The island was bought by the Nature Conservancy Council, now CCW, in 1959, with help from the Wildlife Trust.

During May and June the island is carpeted with Bluebells and Red Campion, with Thrift and Sea Campion seen along cliff edges later in the year. Large areas of the island are dominated by Bracken and much of the rest of the island is exposed and plants are therefore limited to salt and wind-tolerant maritime grasses.

The main interest of the island is the seabirds. The colony of Manx Shearwater is possibly the largest in the world, and the Puffin, Storm Petrel, Guillemot and Razorbill colonies present a significant proportion of the total population of these species in Britain as a whole. On the cliffs there are thousands of Kittiwakes, and hundreds of Fulmar, augmented by Herring, Lesser and Great Black-backed Gulls. Apart from the seabirds, breeding species include Short-eared Owl, Curlew, Chough and Peregrine. Other species include Oystercatchers, Mallard, Moorhen, Raven, Buzzard, Kestrel, Little Owl, Meadow Pipits, Skylark, Wheatear, Rock Pipit, Whitethroat and Dunnock.

The land mammals include a unique island race of Bank Vole, known as the Skomer Vole, as well as Wood Mouse, Rabbit, Common and Pygmy Shrew. The only reptiles on the island are Slow Worm and Common Lizard, and amphibians include Common Toads, Common Frogs and Palmate Newts. Butterflies include Meadow Brown, Grayling, Small Copper and migrants.

Grey Seals haul out onto the rocks at low tide and breed on the beaches and in the caves in autumn and early winter.

St Margaret’s Island

Cormorant by Harry Hogg
Cormorant by Harry Hogg

Cormorant by Harry Hogg

St Margaret’s Island downloadable leaflet for printing (115 KB) or Return to the Pembrokeshire Main Page

Grid References O.S. Explorer map OL36 South Pembrokeshire. Site centre: SS120973

Status SSSI.

Tenure Leased from the Picton Castle Estate since 1950.

Size 7 ha (17.3 acres).

Location and Access Notes

Public transport
Island situated near Tenby, off the western tip of Caldey Island. Access restricted and landings are difficult. Contact the Wildlife Trust Officer for Pembrokeshire for more information. Access across to the island via the boulder beach at low tide from Caldey is extremely dangerous and should not be attempted.

Good views from the mainland at Tenby, and Caldey Island, which can be reached by boat from Tenby.


The island is principally limestone with the spectacular vertical western cliffs being the southern outcrop of the famous South Pembrokeshire Syncline. The southern slopes are shattered and eroded, and there are several stacks of over 30 metres immediately south of the island.

Signs of past human activity include extensive quarry workings, and associated quarrymaster’s houses, and a small field with a bothy on the large island. More extensive buildings on the small island include the ruins of three houses, formerly a large chapel, and there is evidence of religious connections since at least 1748. By 1851 the island had been abandoned.

The seabird colonies are mainly confined to the northern and western cliffs, with strong colonies of Guillemot, Razorbill and Kittiwake. The principal nesting species is the Cormorant, this being one of the largest in England and Wales. A few pairs of Puffins breed in rock fissures, but Brown Rats are known to be on the island which precludes the spread of any colonies. Shag also breed, as well as Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Great Black-backed Gull.

The top of the island is dominated by Red Fescue with Common Nettle, Hogweed, False Oat Grass and Cocksfoot. Vegetation on the seaward edges is poorer, although species to be found include Sea Beet, Common Scurvy Grass and Common Mallow, with Red Fescue.

Teifi Marshes

Baby tawny owls at Teifi Marsh by Tommy Evans

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 198 Cardigan & New Quay, O.S. Explorer map OL35 North Pembrokeshire. Main entrance: SN187430, Site centre: SN184455

Status Part of Afon Teifi SSSI and SAC, and part of Coedmor NNR.

Tenure Owned by the Trust.

Size 107.1 ha (264.6 acres).

Teifi Marshes downloadable leaflet for printing (168 KB) or Return to the Pembrokeshire Main Page

The stunning Teifi Marshes is one of the best wetland sites in Wales, with over wintering birds including thousands of starlings coming in to roost and performing a glorious murmuration over the marshes before descending to roost.

Location and Access Notes

Public transport

Bus numbers 430 and 390 from Cardigan stop in Cilgerran village.

At the end of Cilgerran village, heading towards Cardigan, take the right turn just before the bridge, and take the long single track to the car park and visitor centre. There is also pedestrian access along the river from Cardigan.

Additional facilities: The Welsh Wildlife Centre is situated here, which includes the brilliant Glasshouse Cafe. This serves up gorgeous homemade and seasonal food. There is also our entertaining adventure playground and a gift shop; and, if you fall in love with this reserve as much as we have, then there is the lovely Oak Tree Cottage to stay at.

Willow Badger, Wildlife Centre, Cilgerran.

Our guardian

Description: The reserve is situated on the floor of the wide pre-glacial channel left by the former course of the Teifi and now occupied by the river Piliau, which meanders through the marshes in a narrow but deceptively deep cut. A range of habitats is supported, from open pasture and well wooded hedgerows, through Alder and Willow carr, freshwater marsh with open pools and reedbeds to tidal mudbanks.

Flooding is extensive in winter, when the area attracts large numbers of wildfowl, notably Teal, Wigeon and Mallard.

Water Rail are present in winter in considerable numbers, and other regular winter visitors include Snipe, Curlew and Lapwing. Peregrines hunt over the marshes.

Breeding birds include Reed, Sedge and Cetti’s Warblers and both Whitethroats, Shelduck and Moorhen. Herons also breed nearby.

Otters are present in the marshes, Water Shrews are numerous and Sika and Red Deer are now present. Fish species include Lamprey, Stickleback, Mullets, Eel, Sewin and Salmon. Frogs and Toads are numerous and both Grass Snakes and Adders are present on the reserve.

The rich assemblage of dragonflies include Emperor, Broad-bodied Chaser, Southern Hawker and Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly.

Water Buffalo are used to graze the site at certain times of the year.

Sedge Warbler Teifi Marsh

Sedge Warbler Teifi Marsh

West Williamston

Brown hairstreak butterfly by Phillip Precey, this butterfly does well on West Williamston

West Williamston Leaflet or Return to the Pembrokeshire Main Page

Grid References O.S. Explorer map OL36 South Pembrokeshire.

Site centre: SN033058

Status SSSI, SAC.

Important Notice

The footpath that passes through the ash woodland of this nature reserve is now closed to the public. 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 closure is 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.

Brown hairstreak butterfly by Phillip Precey, this butterfly does well on West Williamston

Brown hairstreak butterfly by Phillip Precey

Tenure Leased from the National Trust since 1979.

Size 20 ha (49.4 acres).

Location and Access Notes
Public transport. Nearest stop at Carew Newton. Silcox Service 361 from Tenby.

The reserve is situated to the west of the village of West Williamston. Access is from the small car park [SN032059] by a public footpath across fields towards the shore of the Carew river and the south west corner of the reserve.


Tidal creeks and saltmarsh, limestone rock outcrops and spoil heaps with woodland.

The reserve is a promontory on the confluence of the Carew and the Cresswell rivers. The saltmarsh is deeply indented with tidal creeks excavated as loading bays for the limestone quarries in the 18th century. Many of the creeks are now becoming salt marsh, and the remaining spoil heaps from the quarries have become vegetated.

The saltmarsh fringes the muddy shoreline were there is a broad belt of Cord Grass, and Glassworts, Rock Sea-lavender (7-9) and also Marsh Mallow (8-9) is present at one of its few locations in Pembrokeshire. The ridges between the creeks and quarries have a rich calcareous flora between patches of scrub including Blackthorn. Local and uncommon plants include Bee Orchid (6-7), Fragile Glasswort, Hairy Rock-cress (6-8), Hairy Violet (3-5), and Yellow-wort (6-10). Ash and Sycamore dominate the woodland with Oaks, Beech and Hazel. Lichen and fungi are abundant and include Sulphur Tuft and Orange Peel Fungus.

Large numbers of waders and wildfowl frequent the site, including Curlew, Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Shelduck, Mute Swan, Cormorant and Oystercatcher. Further species present in the woodland include Tawny Owl and Wren.

Butterflies are well represented and include the Comma and one of the largest colonies of Brown Hairstreak in west Wales. Mammals present include Common Shrew, Bank Voles, Moles and Polecats.

West Williamston