Grid References O.S. Explorer map 151 Cardiff & Bridgend. Site centre: ST111827
Tenure Leased from the Forestry Commission since 1968, and freehold purchased in 1984, with assistance from the Countryside Commission, Joseph Frazier Memorial Fund, Dr Mary Gillham, Glamorgan Watch, NHMF, NCC, Pentyrch Community Council, Welsh Water Authority, and WWF.
Size 16.6 ha (41 acres).
Location and Access Notes
3 km north-west of Cardiff. The reserve can be reached from the east via the Taff’s Well junction on the A470 Cardiff to Merthyr Tydfil trunk road north of the M4. Take the Pentyrch Road over Ynys Bridge, and turn right to Heol Berri Green, Gwaelod-y-Garth. From the west via the Llantrisant road (A4119) and then minor roads to Pentyrch. Parking is limited. Footpaths can be muddy and there are some steps and stiles.
Bus number 136 from Cardiff to Gwaelod-y-Garth.
Description: Ancient broadleaved woodland, which is located across the boundary between acidic and calcareous soils.
Coed-y-bedw consists of various woodland types. Much of the site occupies a steep north-facing slope following the Garth Hill Coal Measures and the Carboniferous limestone of the Little Garth. Wet Alder woodland in the wetter valley bottom grades through Oak/Birch mixed deciduous woodland to Beech woodland in the northern and western areas. Mixed Ash woodland is locally dominant on the limestone areas to the south.
Two lime-rich springs arise in the southwest of the site and join the acidic stream Nant Cwmllwydrew flowing eastward along the valley floor. This mixture of acidic and calcareous water in the drainage system supports an interesting assemblage of invertebrates, including the uncommon Giant Lacewing, whose larvae develop in the moss clad banks of the streams.
In the wet valley bottom stands of Giant Horsetail (4) are found. The shrub layer includes Alder Buckthorn, Guelder Rose (6-7) and Hazel, while the herb layer is divided between acid and lime-loving plants with Traveller’s Joy (7-9), Wild Garlic (4-6) and Spindle (6-7) on the southern calcareous soil, and Bluebell (4-6), Heath Bedstraw (7-8), and Lousewort (4-7) on the acidic soils.
There is a great diversity of resident woodland birds including Tawny Owl, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Treecreeper, which are augmented in summer by Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Willow Warbler and Blackcap.
The site has been modified by past mining activity, and evidence of this is still present, and responsible for much of the uneven topography. In the northwest of the reserve the shaft leading into the derelict Coed y Bedw colliery can be seen, abandoned in 1913, and nearby the ruins of an old cottage, once the home of Morgan Thomas, one time owner of the mine.