West Williamston

West Williamston Leaflet or Return to the Pembrokeshire Main Page

Grid References O.S. Explorer map OL36 South Pembrokeshire.

Site centre: SN033058

Status SSSI, SAC.

Brown hairstreak butterfly by Phillip Precey, this butterfly does well on West Williamston

Brown hairstreak butterfly by Phillip Precey

Tenure Leased from the National Trust since 1979.

Size 20 ha (49.4 acres).

Location and Access Notes
Public transport. Nearest stop at Carew Newton. Silcox Service 361 from Tenby.

The reserve is situated to the west of the village of West Williamston. Access is from the small car park [SN032059] by a public footpath across fields towards the shore of the Carew river and the south west corner of the reserve.


Tidal creeks and saltmarsh, limestone rock outcrops and spoil heaps with woodland.

The reserve is a promontory on the confluence of the Carew and the Cresswell rivers. The saltmarsh is deeply indented with tidal creeks excavated as loading bays for the limestone quarries in the 18th century. Many of the creeks are now becoming salt marsh, and the remaining spoil heaps from the quarries have become vegetated.

The saltmarsh fringes the muddy shoreline were there is a broad belt of Cord Grass, and Glassworts, Rock Sea-lavender (7-9) and also Marsh Mallow (8-9) is present at one of its few locations in Pembrokeshire. The ridges between the creeks and quarries have a rich calcareous flora between patches of scrub including Blackthorn. Local and uncommon plants include Bee Orchid (6-7), Fragile Glasswort, Hairy Rock-cress (6-8), Hairy Violet (3-5), and Yellow-wort (6-10). Ash and Sycamore dominate the woodland with Oaks, Beech and Hazel. Lichen and fungi are abundant and include Sulphur Tuft and Orange Peel Fungus.

Large numbers of waders and wildfowl frequent the site, including Curlew, Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Shelduck, Mute Swan, Cormorant and Oystercatcher. Further species present in the woodland include Tawny Owl and Wren.

Butterflies are well represented and include the Comma and one of the largest colonies of Brown Hairstreak in west Wales. Mammals present include Common Shrew, Bank Voles, Moles and Polecats.

West Williamston