Wild Daffodils at Coed y Bwl

Coed-y-Bwl‘s wild daffodils nodded their heads on St. David’s Day – and  they are bursting forth in profusion for what appears to be a really spectacular display across the six-acre woodland reserve.

Despite bitter north east winds, the flowers are quite early – they are not always out on St. David’s Day.  Amongst them is a small display of Tenby daffodils – slightly taller than their wild cousins, with a deeper yellow trumpet and petals.

The reserve is open to visitors – but please keep to the circular footpath – and be aware that some daffodils are very close to the edge.

Native Daffodil

Native Daffodil

This reserve, so close to Cardiff and Bridgend, is well worth a visit through the spring. The local group have been extremely active here making it a great place to see daffodils, wood anemone and bluebells. The daffodils do make a gorgeous display through the early spring, the lower path, whilst short, is very easy access for anyone who would struggle up the steep hills and gives a wonderful view of the flowers.

About the Tenby daffodil. There’s a fascinating legend which I have found in an old book. The Tenby daffodil disappeared from the botanical ‘radar’ in west Wales after the wholescale ploughing of land during the ‘dig for victory’ campaigns of the two World wars.

But somehow, the daffodils’ tenacity to stay rooted to the soil allowed the species to grow on in gardens and hedge-banks around Tenby and neighbouring counties of Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire. It was thus largly overlooked and thought to be a garden variety or garden ‘escape.’ But amazingly, the Tenby Daffodil raised its golden head again – thanks to a small boy, on holiday in Tenby, who walked into the local tourist office forty years ago, and asked an official if he could buy “some Tenby daffodil bulbs” to take home to his aunt. No-one in the tourist office had heard of the flower – except for a workman, engaged in the building who claimed the existence of the species – featured in his book of British wild flowers.

The scientific evidence brought the Tenby Daffodil back as a tourist attraction – and the local authority sourced a specialist nurseryman to supply fresh stocks of Narcissus Pseudonarissus obvallaris. They were planted in profusion around the town – and the ‘Tenby’ regained its golden crown in its home county.

What’s more, the species was given the Royal imprimatur when the Prince of Wales wore one in his buttonhole on a visit to the Principality.

Twenty years after that small boy’s simple request, 10,000 Tenby daffodil bulbs were planted at the National Garden Festival at Ebbw Vale.
Today it competes with the leek as the national emblem of Wales!

I’m afraid Coed-y-Bwl can only boast a small clump of about fifty Tenby blooms. But of course, we put the truly wild variety – Narcissus pseudonarcissus – first. And this year looks really promising for a spectacular ‘Spring in Bloom’ display.They are worth more than a ‘glance’.

Richard Marks