It’s a record!
The first wild daffodils were in bloom at Coed y Bwl reserve on January 25 – beating a long-standing early record by six days.
Our mildest December since records began helped promote dormant bulbs at this wildwood gem in the Vale of Glamorgan.
On the same day, nuthatches were spring-cleaning an old woodpecker hole in an ash tree, song thrush and mistle thrush were in full song and a tawny owl was mobbed by wrens and blackbirds. Wood anemones and dog violets will bloom soon.
Visitors are asked to stay on the circular path and keep dogs on leads. The full display of daffodils is expected to mature by early March. And for the record: On Sunday, January 31, 1999, two daffodils burst forth to claim the earliest record since the Trust acquired the reserve forty-five years ago.
Set in the north west side of the Alun valley this stunning little nature reserve is well tended by a local group of volunteers who maintain its paths and walls. Every year this ancient ash woodland fills up with spring flowers, making it a spectacular sight, but the daffodils really make it special.
Concerned by the early onset of daffodils appearing in gardens from December one of our intrepid volunteers, Richard Marks, made it out to the site to check on the state of play. Whilst some daffodils are coming thankfully they are not all in flower yet, but it's worthwhile remembering that we could have a very early bloom this year - so watch this space.
Signs of other spring flowers in many of our nature reserves are appearing, Dog's Mercury has pushed up it's leaves in many of our woodland reserves, snowdrops are blooming in Dinefwr Castle Woods Llandeilo, and bluebells are pushing their leaves up across the patch.
If our exceptionally warm weather continues then everyone will need to adjust their spring flower calendars back a little bit, although if we are in for a sudden cold snap before the winter is out then we could see many of our plants knocked back.
Amazing reserves to see spring flowers include:
Coed y Bedw – Pentyrch, Cardiff. An ancient broadleaved woodland. Bus number 136 from Cardiff to Gwaelod-y-Garth. ST111827
Coed y Bwl – Castle Upon Alun, Vale of Glamorgan. Ancient ash woodland where wild daffodils and bluebells are in abundance. Bus numbers 146 and 145 from Bridgend. SS909749
Craig Cilhendre Woods, Pontardawe, Swansea. Partially ancient oak woodland with some newer woodland areas. Bus numbers 122, X20 and X25 from Swansea Quadrant Bus Station to Pontardawe. SN719022
Cwm Ivy Woods and Betty Church Reserve, Cwm Ivy, Gower, Swansea. Ancient broadleaved woodland with an abundance of spring woodland flowers, plantation and calcareous pasture and quarry. Bus number 116 from Swansea Quadrant Bus Station to Llanmadoc. SS438937
Melincwrt Waterfalls, Resolven, Neath, Port Talbot. Spectacular waterfall and ancient oak woodland with beautiful spring woodland flowers. Bus number X5 and X6 from Swansea Quadrant Bus Station or Neath Train Station. SN822020
Dinefwr Castle Woods, Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire. Lowland mixed deciduous woodland with an abundance of spring flowers in a stunning setting. On the train line – Swansea to Shrewsbury service. Bus number X13 from Swansea and the 280 from Carmarthen. SN623223
Coed Wern Ddu, Llanllwch, Carmarthen. Mixed deciduous and wet woodland with an abundance of spring flowers. No known public transport. SN373179
Poor Man’s Wood/Gallt y Tlodion, Llandovery, Carmarthenshire. Sessile oak woodland with a hazel understorey. Lower down in the woodland is an abundance of spring flowers. On the train line – Swansea to Shrewsbury service. 280 from Carmarthen although the bus stop is a reasonable walk from the woodland. SN781351
Coed Penglanowen and Old Warren Hill, Nanteos, Ceredigion. A varied woodland which includes the county’s tallest tree, a specimen of Sequioadendron giganteum. This woodland has a spectacular display of spring woodland flowers. The Aberystwyth circular town service stops in Penparcau, a 2km walk to the reserve. SN611786
Penderi Cliffs, between Llanrhystud and Monk’s Cave, Ceredigion. Oak woodland hanging on to the cliffs with a spectacular spring flower display of flowers. Bus numbers X40, X50 and 550. SN553734