Darren Fawr

Reserve Information


Heading South towards Merthyr Tydfil from Brecon along the A470, take the left turn that runs down Upper High Street, the old road into Merthyr Tydfil. At a cross roads just before you pass over the Heads of the Valleys Road (A465) turn left up Vaynor Road signposted towards Pontsticill, and after 100m turn left again up Cloth Hall Lane. Take care, this is a narrow and steep lane. Follow it all the way up to its end, passing over a cattle grid and in to the car park of Merthyr Tydfil Golf Club. Park here. Near the entrance to the car park is the reserve information panel and a signposted footpath heading up the hill. On foot, take this path for just over three quarters of a mile up the hill, following a fence line on your left and way marked by BWT posts and arrows. The reserve starts at the point where the fence line becomes new and has a stile in it. The reserve is then in front of you on both sides of this new fence.

Nearest town: Merthyr Tydfil. Post code CF48 2NT.

SO 022 102


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Opening Times



52.6 hectares

Walking Information

The reserve features steep and hazardous terrain including cliffs and scree slopes with loose and unstable rocks. These areas should be avoided at all times. Additionally care should be taken when walking by the golf course - watch out for flying golf balls! The reserve is an open access reserve, you are allowed to visit the reserve on foot for your quiet enjoyment of the wildlife present.


Unsuitable for wheelchairs.

Geology Trail


Park at Merthyr Tydfil golf club.


Dogs must be under close control.

Grazing Animals


Factsheets and Guides for Your Visit

Darren Fawr

Darren Fawr is the largest and most spectacular of the Trust’s reserves. It consists of a steep hill-side, covered with loose, grey limestone scree, cliffs and an undulating hill-top with good views of the surrounding landscape.

The rocks here have been eroded by the weather and inhabited by rare plants

What to look out for

The scree slope is home to the rigid buckler fern. This is one of only two Welsh sites at which it has been found.

Above the scree slopes are the imposing cliffs of Darren Fawr and Darren Fach. Clinging to the rock face of Darren Fach is the rarest tree species in Britain – Ley’s Whitebeam; named after Reverend Augustin Ley who discovered it at this site in 1896. It has a total wild population of about 15 individuals, most of which are at Darren Fach.

The limestone pavements on the reserve are long, low, flattened pieces of rock whose tops are only a few feet above ground level. The limestone has been broken down into blocks by the weather – producing gaps in the limestone, resembling a “pavement”.

A rare buckler fern, with Paul Green of BSBI

Species and habitats

Limestone Pavement, Upland Calcareous Grassland, Upland Mixed Ashwood
Ash, Bird's-foot-trefoil, Blackthorn, Bracken, Carline Thistle, Cock's foot, Common Lizard, Crested Dog's tail, Daisy, Dog's Mercury, Elder, Fairy Flax, Field Maple, Grayling, Grey Squirrel, Hart's-Tongue, Hawthorn, Hazel, Herb Robert, Holly, Ivy, Lady-fern, Linnet, Maidenhair Spleenwort, Male-fern, Meadow Pipit, Mole, Mouse-ear-hawkweed, Polypody, Quaking-grass, Rabbit, Raven, Ribwort Plantain, Rock-rose, Rowan, Salad Burnet, Selfheal, Seven-spot Ladybird, Sky Lark, Small Tortoiseshell, Small-leaved Lime, Stinging Nettle, Sweet Vernal-grass, Sycamore, Tormentil, Wavy Hair-grass, Wheatear, White Clover, Whitebeam, Wild Strawberry, Wood Avens, Wood-sorrel, Wych Elm, Yarrow, Yew

Nature Reserve Map