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Llyn Fach, Rhigos Road, Neath Port Talbot

Llyn Fach by Graham Watkeys

Llyn Fach by Graham Watkeys

Description: The nature reserve features a large nutrient-poor glacial lake, overlooked by dramatic north-east facing cliffs and scree, dotted with rowan trees. The damp and shady outcrops, ledges and crevices provide undisturbed habitat for montane species such as Wilson’s Filmy Fern and Fir Clubmoss, and other interesting species such as Cowberry and Beech Fern.

Great Woodrush and Bilberry flourish on the steep slopes and ledges, and a mosaic of recovering acid grassland, marshy grassland, heathland and bog can be found in the extensive clearfelled area of former forestry to the east of the lake.

The lake supports Water Lobelia in its southernmost British location, the regionally rare Floating-leaved Bur-reed, and extensive beds of Broad-leaved Pondweed and Water Horsetail.

Llyn Fach by Graham Watkeys

Llyn Fach by Graham Watkeys

The lake is home to a rich variety of dragonflies and damselflies, provides breeding habitat for Common Frog, Toad and Palmate Newt, and has one of the last remaining populations of Water Vole in Glamorgan. Otter are frequent visitors, and Trout can often be observed leaping from the water. Coot, Little Grebe and Heron are sometimes seen on the water or nesting in the vegetated margins.

A rich variety birds of prey can be spotted all year round, and Nightjar, Snipe, Cuckoo and Crossbill are known to utilise the clearfell and surrounding conifers. Ring Ouzel and Fieldfare are regular autumn visitors, when large flocks of migrating birds can also be seen stopping off to feed at the lake.

Grid References Grid References: OS Explorer Map 166. Main Entrances: SN906040, SN904038. Site Centre: SN906036

Status Part of the Craig y Llyn SSSI. Also includes part of the Cwm Gwrelych and Nant Llyn Fach Streams SSSI.

Tenure Leased for 25 years from July 2017 from Natural Resources Wales

Size 35 ha (86 acres)

Location and Access Notes

Llyn Fach is around 5km south-west of Hirwaun. The reserve is approx. 3km walk along forestry tracks from Cwm-hwnt or the lookout point parking on Rhigos Road, A4061. The Coed Morgannwg Way can be used to access the cliff tops. No wheelchair access and a limited network of paths.

Public Transport
The village of Rhigos is served by Stagecoach Route 8 from Aberdare.

This leaflet can be downloaded

Map of Llyn Fach

Overton Mere, Overton, Gower, Swansea

Linnet

Linnet Sea cliff, limestone grassland, heath and scrub.

The reserve is named after the bay over which it looks. The reserve has almost the full range of South Gower Coast habitats ranging from Hawthorn and Blackthorn scrub, through mixed Gorse and heath, open limestone scree, to improved and unimproved limestone grassland.

The areas of improved grassland are to be found on the plateau area closest to the sea shore which is a fossil raised beach dating back to the last Ice Age. The improvement came about when the previous owner ploughed these areas for potatoes, and they were subsequently reseeded with grass.

Lime-loving flowers such as Common Rock-rose (6-9), Milkwort (5-9), Eyebright (7-9), and Thyme (6-8) flourish while Linnet, Meadow Pipit, and Stonechat search the grassland and scrub for food. Oystercatcher and other shore birds can be seen in the Mere at low tide.

Bloody-nosed Beetle and Green Tiger Beetle are regularly to be found on the path in summer, the rare Silky Wave Moth hides in the Gorse, and an assemblage of solitary bees and wasps nest in tunnels dug in the soft sediments of the wave cut platform.

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 164 Gower. Main entrance: SS460850, Site centre: SS462848

Status Part of the South Gower Coast SSSI, which in turn is part of the European Natura 2000 site, the Limestone Sea Cliffs of South West Wales SAC.

Tenure The reserve was purchased in December 1963 and March 1986 with financial help and grant aid from SPNR’s Nuffield Fund, the Pilgrim Trust, and WWF. The Trust purchased the agricultural rights in 1996, with the help of grant aid from CCW.

Size 11.6 ha (28.6 acres).

Location andAccess Notes
0.5 km south of the village of Overton, adjacent to Port Eynon Point nature reserve. Access to the reserve can be gained by way of the first field gate on the left on the track leading out of Overton Village to the west, or by way of the coastal public footpath and stile from Port Eynon Point. Not accessible to wheelchairs.

Public Transport
Bus numbers 117, 118, 115 and 21a from Swansea Quadrant Bus Station to Overton village.

Download a leaflet about this reserve

Sedger’s Bank, Port Eynon, Gower

Description: Rocky foreshore, beach, and relict sand dune grassland.

Sedger’s Bank makes up a large part of the most western edge of Port Eynon Bay and the entirety of the nature reserve can only be seen on the lowest tides of the year.

Mussels Paul NaylorThe only area of the reserve which is above high water mark is made up of a small storm beach surmounted by a relict sand dune upon which Sea Bindweed (6-8), Rest Harrow (6-9), and Sea Spurge (7-10) grow.

The rest of the nature reserve is frequently covered by sea water depending on the height of the tide in the cycle between springs and neaps, and the limestone rocks provide shelter for the full range of rocky shore life including Barnacle, Mussel, Whelk, and Beadlet Anemone, together with Serrated Wrack and with a variety of red algae such as Coral Weed. The whole site is fringed at its lowest point by a forest of kelp, dominated by Oarweed.

The reserve serves as a roosting place for Purple Sandpiper and Shags at near high tide in winter, and is also a site where Grey Seal haul out.

Management Objectives: Monitor for any marine pollution incidents.

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 164 Gower. Site centre: SS470844

Status Part of the South Gower Coast SSSI, which in turn is part of the European Natura 2000 site, the Limestone Sea Cliffs of South West Wales SAC.

Tenure The freehold of this reserve was given to the Trust in April 1966 by the late Mr. C.P.M. Methuen-Campbell.
Size 35.1 ha (85.7 acres).

Location and Access Notes

0.5 km south of Port Eynon village, at the western side of the beach. Not accessible to wheelchairs.

Public transport Bus numbers 114, 115, 117, 118 and 119 from Swansea Quadrant Bus Station to Port Eynon

Sedger's Bank

Port Eynon Point, Port Eynon, Swansea

Description: Sea cliff, foreshore, limestone grassland, heathland, secondary Ash woodland, and quarries.

A large part of the reserve on the inland side has been used for quarrying and now provides a varied set of habitats for plants and animals, including Fox and Rabbit, and birds such as Stonechat and Rock Pipit.

bladder campionAlthough part of the cliff top was ploughed during the last war, there is no indication of it in the Gorse heath vegetation that now dominates it. There is a very clear grass strip along the cliff top which is maintained by Rabbit grazing and visitor pressure, where a range of flowers can be found including Sea Campion (6-8), Spring Squill (4-5), Thrift (3-9) and Wild Clary (5-7).

The reserve is regionally important as a sea watching site particularly in late July and early August, though interesting birds are usually present throughout the year. January and February often bring Red-throated and Great Northern Diver. At the end of July and early August at day break, large numbers of Manx Shearwater and Gannet may be seen flying past and often there are large groups of Common Scoter off-shore.

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 164 Gower. Main entrance: SS467848, Site centre: SS465845

Status Part of the South Gower Coast SSSI, which in turn is part of the European Natura 2000 site, the Limestone Sea Cliffs of South West Wales SAC.

Tenure Acquired under leasehold for 60 years in February 1965. The Trust purchased the agricultural rights in 1996, with the help of grant aid from CCW.

Size 13.4 ha (33 acres).

Location and Access Notes

Port Eynon village lies at the end of the A4118. Port Eynon Point can be accessed from the footpath on the west side of Port Eynon beach. Not accessible to wheelchairs. Take care on cliff-top footpaths.

Public Transport

Bus numbers 114, 115, 117, 118 and 119 from Swansea Quadrant Bus Station to Port Eynon.

 

Port Eynon Point

Overton Cliff & Roydon’s Corner, Overton, Gower, Swansea

Bloody Cranesbill Philip Precey

Description: Sea cliffs, limestone grassland, heath and scrub.

Overton Cliff can be accessed from the stile in the south east corner of the Long Hole Cave nature reserve in the west, or from the footpath adjacent to the seashore of the Overton Mere nature reserve in the east.

Bloody Cranesbill Philip Precey

Bloody Cranesbill Philip Precey

Overton Cliff is ungrazed at present and the vegetation is predominantly heathland and scrub made up of a mixture of European and Western Gorse (7-10) and Bell Heather (7-8) together with Hawthorn, Blackthorn, and Juniper (4). Because of the close proximity of the sea and lack of grazing part of the grassland at the western end of the reserve, which is dominated by Red Fescue, has formed a thick mattress-like sward, now invaded by Gorse.

Early Purple Orchid (4-5) followed by Bloody Cranesbill (6-8) and Carline Thistle (7-9) adorn the limestone grassland, while the Wild Madder climbs its way through the Gorse.

Feral Rock Dove use the ledges on Overton Cliff to nest, while Jackdaw use the cave and rock face. Green Woodpecker might be seen foraging for ants amongst the anthills in the grassland.

Grayling butterfly (7-8) favour the open scree slopes, while the Dotted Beefly (4-5) searches for solitary bees nesting at the cliff edge, and other solitary wasps hunt spiders and snails.

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 164 Gower. Main entrance: SS460848, Site centre: SS458848

Status Part of the South Gower Coast SSSI, which in turn is part of the European Natura 2000 site, the Limestone Sea Cliffs of South West Wales SAC.

Tenure Overton Cliff was purchased in February 1964 with financial help and grant aid from SPNR’s Nuffield Fund, the Pilgrim Trust and WWF. Roydon’s Corner was purchased in 1996 with grant aid from CCW.

Size 11.1 ha (27.4 acres).

Location and Access Notes

0.2 km south west of the village of Overton, adjacent to Overton Mere nature reserve. Not accessible to wheelchairs.

Public Transport

Bus numbers 117, 118, 115 and 21a from Swansea Quadrant Bus Station to Overton village.

Overton Cliff

Long Hole Cliff Overton, Gower, Swansea

Weasel Elliot Smith

Description: Sea cliffs, limestone grassland, heath, and caves.

Long Hole Cliff is named after a small cave in the centre of the reserve, which during nineteenth century archaeological excavations yielded Stone Age tools and the fossil remains of Ice Age animals which can be seen in The Royal Institution in Swansea.

Weasel Elliot Smith

Weasel Elliot Smith

Parts of the cliffs closest to the sea in the south east corner of the reserve have been quarried for limestone, which was burned in the adjacent limekiln, the ruin of whichis still visible, to provide lime for spreading on fields further inland.

The reserve displays a very clear difference in vegetation between the deeper cliff top soils which support Gorse scrub and heath and the thinner soils of the slopes, cliffs and scree with limestone grassland flowers. Spring brings a flush of blue to the cliffs as Spring Squill (4-5) flowers, followed by a wide range of other flowers including Bird’s-foot Trefoil (6-9), Kidney Vetch (5-7), and the nationally scarce Portland Spurge (5-9).

Weasel is often seen hunting for Rabbits or Voles along the boundary walls.

A PDF of this leaflet it available

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 164 Gower. Main entrance: SS455852, Site centre: SS450850

Status Part of the South Gower Coast SSSI, which in turn is part of the European Natura 2000 site, the Limestone Sea Cliffs of South West Wales SAC. The reserve contains a Scheduled Ancient Monument and the western half of the site is registered common land, being manorial waste, and has been declared open access.

Tenure The Trust purchased this site in September 1970 with financial help from B.P. Chemicals plc.

Size 20.7 ha (50.2 acres).

Location and Access Notes

1 km west of the village of Overton, adjacent to Overton Cliff nature reserve. Access is from the track that leads westward from the village of Overton, or from the path leading through Overton Cliff. Not accessible to wheelchairs.

Public Transport
Bus numbers 117, 118, 115 and 21a from Swansea Quadrant Bus Station to Overton village.

Long Hole Cliff Map

Deborah’s Hole, Pilton, Gower, Swansea

Description: Sea cliff, calcareous grassland, and heath.

Deborah’s Hole is named after a small inaccessible cave which during archaeological excavations in the nineteenth century yielded Stone Age tools, which are to be seen in the Royal Institution in Swansea.

Common Thyme Philip Precey

Common Thyme Philip Precey

The reserve has been partially surface quarried for limestone either as building stone for walls or for burning to produce lime for agricultural fields. This has left a broken surface and varied soil depth which has not allowed subsequent agricultural improvement, as has occurred on the cliff top of Horse Cliff, immediately to the east.

The vegetation ranges from limestone grassland with Common Rock-rose (5-9), the nationally scarce Spring Cinquefoil (4), Squinancywort (6-7), and Thyme (5-8) on the thinner soils through to heathland supporting Bell Heather (7-9) together with Gorse and Hawthorn scrub. The reserve also has nesting Rock Pipit, and Linnet, with Fulmar and Raven nesting upon adjacent cliffs. The Hornet Robberfly has been seen in early autumn.

This reserve allows good views of the Knave, a small offshore stack with attendant Cormorants and Shags, and on a clear day, Lundy Island can been seen out in the Bristol Channel.

A PDF version of this leaflet is available

 

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 164 Gower. Site centre: SS435862

Status Part of the South Gower Coast SSSI, which in turn is part of the European Natura 2000 site, the Limestone Sea Cliffs of South West Wales SAC.

Tenure The reserve was purchased by the Trust in July 1972 with financial assistance from Marks and Spencers plc.

Size 6.7 ha (16.5 acres).

Location and Access Notes

2 km east of Rhossili, 3 km west of Port Eynon. Access to the Deborah’s Hole nature reserve can be gained from the public footpath leading south to the coastline from Kimerley Moor, or via the Rhossili to Port Eynon coastal footpath. Not accessible to wheelchairs.

Public transport

Bus number 118 from Swansea Quadrant Bus Station to Rhossili.

Deborah's Hole Map

Berry Wood, Knelston, Gower, Swansea

Description: Ancient mixed deciduous woodland.

Berry Wood is an example of mixed woodland, rare in this part of Gower, situated on poorly drained glacial drift over Millstone Grit. Oak is present with Birch, Ash, Hazel, Sallow, Rowan, and Aspen. The site is shown on the 1847 Llandewi Tithe map, as woodland on the western half and scrub to the east.

Berry Wood treeThe oldest and largest trees, principally Oak, are to be found on the western side of the reserve today, and the remainder is made up of even-aged stands of multi-stemmed Oak, Birch, and Ash. This suggests that the eastern half of the reserve may have been clear felled during the Napoleonic Wars, and allowed to regenerate naturally, whereas the western half has remained untouched. The tithe map also shows a small triangular orchard within the wood on the western boundary, where apple trees still grow.

Towards the centre of the wood and in the northwest the ground is very poorly drained. The remainder of the field layer is covered in dense Bramble, with patches of Bracken. Hazel coppice, Hawthorn, Crab Apple (5), and Holly make up the shrub layer, with Honeysuckle (6-9) and Ivy. Narrow Buckler-fern, Wood Millet (6), and where the ground is especially boggy Yellow Flag (5-7), Marsh Marigold (3-5) and Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage (4-7) may be found. There is an abundance of epiphytes on the Oak and Sallow, and bryophytes are well represented.

Wood Mouse and Pygmy Shrew also use the Blue Tit and Great Tit nest boxes, and others bird seen include Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Woodpeckers, Blackcap, Buzzard, Goldcrest, Jay, Willow Warbler, and Woodcock, with mixed finch flocks in winter including Brambling.

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 164 Gower. Site centre: SS 47416 88445

Status Notified SSSI and covered by Tree Preservation Order.

Tenure Purchased by the Trust in December 1969.

Size 6.8 ha (16.9 acres).

Location and Access Notes

500 m south east of Knelston, Gower. Access can be obtained by following the public footpath from opposite the entrance to Stouthall south for 1.7 km, or from the track which runs north from Berry Farm, keeping to the right of the farmhouse. A public footpath passes through the woodland. There is no car parking close to the reserve. Inaccessible to wheelchairs.

Berry Wood

Blaenant y Gwyddyl, Glyneath, Neath, Port Talbot

Pied flycatcher by Margaret Holland

Description: Ancient upland Oak woodland, stream, and waterfalls.

Pied flycatcher by Margaret Holland

Pied flycatcher by Margaret Holland

Blaenant y Gwyddyl is an area of ancient semi-natural broadleaved woodland on thin Coal Measures’ soils, on the north side of the steeply sloping valley of the Nant Gwyddyl. There are several non-woodland habitats including the rocky Blaenant y Gwyddyl river bed fed by streams flowing down the valley side, several large glades, and bare rock exposures near the two attractive
waterfalls.

The reserve is made up of upland Birch-Sessile Oak woodland, with areas containing Ash, Alder, Small-leaved Lime, Sycamore, and Wych Elm. The understorey is not well developed, because of past sheep grazing, giving the reserve an open character, and is chiefly Hazel with some Field Maple, Hawthorn, Holly, and Blackthorn. The ground flora is grass dominated largely by Common Bent and Tufted Hair Grass with some Tutsan (6-8). A richer flora can be found in the wet flushes throughout the wood. To date, a botanical survey has recorded 74 vascular plant species, and no doubt a fuller survey, spread over the full four seasons, will double that number. There are several areas dominated by large stands of Bracken.

The breeding birds, typical of this habitat, include Great Spotted Woodpecker, Wren and Robin, together with migrants such as Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, and Wood Warbler.

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 166 Rhondda and Merthyr Tydfil. Main entrance: SN883070, Site centre: SN885076

Status Local Nature Reserve

Tenure Acquired in 1988 with a 999 year lease, with support from British Coal under a Government initiative, administered by WWF. The freehold was subsequently purchased in 1991.

Size 10.1 ha (24.9 acres).

Location and Access Notes
0.5 km north of Glyneath. Turn off the A465 at Glyneath and follow the A4109 north, first left and first right, parking in Lon-y-Nant. Go over the stile at the top of the road, cross a brook and keep the stock fence to your right. At the top, turn left and bear right round the wooded spoil heap to meet a well used path to the left. Follow this to another path to the right, through the nature reserve. The reserve fence and stile are in view a few metres beyond. Not accessible to wheelchairs.

Public transport

Bus numbers X75 and X55 from Swansea Quadrant Bus Station to Glyneath.

Blaenant y Gwyddyl

Bolgoed Quarry, Pontarddulais, Swansea

Tawny Owl Damian Waters Drumimages

Description: Bolgoed is an old sandstone quarry, last worked in 1955.

Tawny Owl Damian Waters Drumimages

Tawny Owl Damian Waters Drumimages

The habitat consists of open-canopied mixed secondary deciduous woodland of Ash and Birch with a ground layer dominated by Ivy and Bramble. The remainder is dominated by dense Gorse scrub.

The ground flora includes Lesser Celandine [2-4], Wood Anemone [3-5], and Bluebell [4-6]. The major quarry faces are irrigated by groundwater seeping out from the sandstone strata, and provide a habitat for a number of relatively common bryophytes.

The reserve encourages a range of woodland birds such as Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Tawny Owl, Nuthatch and Treecreeper, and the damp nature of the quarry floor makes it an ideal winter roost and feeding site for up to ten Woodcock at a time, during winter cold weather.

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 164 Gower. Site centre: SN603027

Status Local Nature Reserve

Tenure The reserve was purchased in August 1968.

Size 0.81 ha (2 acres).

Location and Access Notes
Lies on the north side of the A480 between Pontlliw and Pontarddulais. A lay by provides convenient parking. Not accessible to wheelchairs.

Public transport
Bus numbers X13 and X14 from Swansea Kingsway Post Office to Bolgoed Road.

Bolgoed Quarry

Broad Pool, Cilibion, Gower, Swansea

Golden Ringed Dragonfly MJClark

Description: Broad Pool is a large body of freshwater lying in a shallow basin on the limestone plateau beneath Cefn Bryn.

Golden Ringed Dragonfly MJClarkIt is one of the most conspicuous and best known features of central Gower. The Pool is known to have been in existence in 1645. Its origins appear to have been natural, although there is evidence that the pool was modified by the removal of sediment and vegetation from the late eighteenth century. Despite its shallowness Broad Pool has only been recorded as having dried out three times in the last one hundred and eighty years: in 1897, 1920, and 1984.

The Pool contains a rich assemblage of aquatic plants including Lesser Marshwort (6-8) and Alternate Flowered Water-milfoil (5-8), both uncommon plants in south Wales. Fringed Water-lily (6-9) is present and has dominated the aquatic vegetation in the past. This attractive and uncommon plant is only native in a small area of the south east of England and was introduced to Broad Pool around 1952.

The pool is visited by a wide range of waterfowl and wetland birds including Heron, Snipe, and Little Grebe, with passage migrants such as Ruff and Spotted Redshank. It is a locally important breeding site for amphibians, and supports a varied aquatic invertebrate fauna including Water Stick Insect and Water Scorpion, and fourteen species of dragonflies, including Azure Damselfly (7-8) and Golden Ringed Dragonfly (6-8). As there are grazing rights over the Common, cows and ponies are often seen drinking in the Pool.

Management Objectives: To maintain an area of open water, and control the Fringed Water-lily. The spread of the Fringed Water-lily during the 1960s, and the subsequent encroachment of rush and Sphagnum moss threatened a change from open water to mire. The l984 drought enabled the removal of silt and restoration to the pool’s former condition. Erosion of the roadside edge of the pool is also being monitored.

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 164 Gower. Site centre: SS509910

Status Local Nature Reserve

Tenure The reserve was purchased in August 1968.

Size 0.81 ha (2 acres).

Location and Access Notes
3 km north east of Reynoldston, Gower. The reserve can be approached from the north Gower road (B4271) via Cilibion, or from the south Gower road (A4118) via Reynoldston.

Public transport

Not available.

Broad Pool

Coed Gawdir, Aberdulais, Neath/Port Talbot

Frog and spawn

Description: An acidic pond, within an ancient woodland site under restoration.

Frog and spawnThe Trust’s reserve is a small part of a much larger planted ancient woodland site.

The pool used to lie within a mature plantation of Scots Pine and European Larch, interspersed with Oak, Silver Birch, and Alder, with a shrub layer dominated by Rhododendron. Over the last 35 years, the conifer trees and Rhododendron have been cleared to let in light, and promote the natural regeneration of native broadleaved tree seedlings.

The site is centred on a pond, which occupies about one third of the reserve area. It is fed by a stream, which enters the pool on the eastern side, and has an outflow in the western bank. The aquatic vegetation is dominated by Flote-grass, and rush species line the margins. The eastern side of the pool has silted up and supports an area of Sphagnum bog, with a small developing area of Alder/Sallow carr.

The principle interest of the site is amphibians breeding in spring, and the resident bird life, such as Wren, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Siskin and Robin.

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 165 Swansea. Site centre: SN783007

Status Local Nature Reserve

Tenure The reserve was acquired in March 1970 under 99 year lease.

Size 0.1 ha (0.25 acres).

Location and Access Notes
1.5 km north east of Aberdulais. Take a westerly track from the A4109, park on the edge of the forestry track. Inaccessible to wheelchairs.

Public transport
Bus number 63 from Swansea Quadrant Bus Station to Aberdulais or train to Neath, then bus 154 to Aberdulais.

Coed Gawdir