Coed Llwyn Rhyddid – Hensol

IMPORTANT NOTICE  – The Nature Reserve is closed due to Ash Dieback!

Grid References Main entrance: ST041778, Car parking: ST043778

Tenure Freehold purchased February 1990.

Size 4.9 ha (12.1 acres).

A downloadable version of this leaflet is available

Location and Access Notes

One mile north of Hensol forest, to the west of the road to the Vale of Glamorgan Hotel & Golf Club. As Herons are easily disturbed, access into the wood is only available through organised group viewing days during the breeding season (mid January to August).

Grey Heron by Harry Hog

Grey Heron by Harry Hog

A stile in the south east corner of the wood is accessed through the gate on the right at the end of the farm track and nearest the farmhouse. Alternatively, a public footpath through Home Farm leads to a gate in the northern corner. Access is by permissive paths and includes small bridges and occasional stiles.

Public transport

The nearest bus stops are 1 mile away on routes to Peterston-super-Ely: in Hensol forest from Cowbridge and in Hensol from Pontyclun.

Description: A mixed secondary woodland supporting a large heronry.

Coed Llwyn Rhyddid is a mixed woodland partly planted some time in the last hundred and fifty years. The canopy is made up of Oak, Ash, Beech, and a mixture of conifers, principally Scots Pine, with an understorey of Holly, Hazel and Rhododendron. The woodland herb layer includes Wood Anemone (3-5) and Bluebell (4-6). The drainage ditches support Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage (4-7). Other plants include Crab Apple (5), Yellow Pimpernel (5-9), Wood Sedge (5-6) and Wood Sorrel (4-5).

The conservation interest of the wood is that in the 1990s it was the third largest heronry in Wales with around 35 pairs. In 2005, 28 pairs were recorded. Nesting Herons have been recorded in the Hensol area since at least 1872.

The Herons nesting at the top of Scots Pine trees can be viewed from the roadside parking near the farm entrance track.

The Herons generally return to the wood towards the end of January. The breeding cycle takes until July for the chicks to fledge, and late August for the Herons to leave the wood.