Coed y Bwl – Castle Upon Alun

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 151 Cardiff and Bridgend. Main entrance: SS909749, Site centre: SS909751

Status The site is a notified SSSI.

Coed y Bwl wild daffodil woods, near St. Brides Major by Richard Marks

Coed y Bwl wild daffodil woods, near St. Brides Major by Richard Marks

Important Notice

We are sorry but at the present time we have decided to close this nature reserve to the public. This is due to the presence of Ash Dieback in the trees.

Our detailed assessment of the number and health of the ash trees (and the risk they pose to site users) determined that making enough trees safe would cause too much harm to the nature reserve, especially the species that depend on ash. It would also reduce our ability to learn about any resilience these local trees might have.

Therefore, with wildlife in mind, we have decided to leave the trees standing- but that means we reluctantly have to close public access here until further notice. This decision will be kept under review and this site updated if the situation changes.

For further information on Ash Dieback and the Trust’s policy on managing it, visit our Ash Dieback page.

Tenure The reserve was acquired by the Trust in December 1970 by leasehold for 21 years, and the lease was renewed in 1991, and again in 2012 for a further 21 years

Size 2.4 ha (5.9 acres).

A downloadable version of this leaflet is available

Location and Access Notes

1 km east of St. Bride’s Major, 3 km south of Bridgend. Minor roads leading north into the Alun Valley from the B426 between St. Bride’s Major and Wick, allow access to the reserve.

Inaccessible to wheelchairs, but the spring ground flora can easily be seen from the road, and parking is afforded in the lay-by opposite the bridge.

Public transport

Bus numbers 146 and 145 from Bridgend to St. Bride’s Major, from where it is a 1 km walk.

Description: Coed y Bwl is an ancient Ash woodland situated on the northwest side of the Alun Valley and overlies the Carboniferous limestone.

The wood was dominated by Elm at the southern end, grading into Ash and Sycamore towards the north, with an understorey of Field Maple. Since the decline of the Elm due to Dutch Elm disease the southern end of the reserve has been clear felled, and replanted with Ash, Common Lime and Wild Cherry.

BluebellThe reserve is best known as a Wild Daffodil (2-3) wood, with these flowers dominating the field layer on the southern part of the wood in early spring together with Wood Anemone (3-5), whilst on the northern slopes Bluebell (4-6) predominate.

The wood supports a range of woodland birds including Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Marsh Tit and Great Tit, augmented in the summer months by Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Chiffchaff. Birds of prey include Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel. Tawny Owls are also resident.

Mammals include Badger, Fox, Stoat, Hedgehog, Long-tailed Field Mouse, Bank Vole, Grey Squirrel and Mole.

Coed y Bwl map