Mapping our wildlife in west Wales

A new study has investigated the character and opportunities for wildlife in the countryside surrounding the town of Cardigan.

The study was undertaken by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, working with Hugh Wheeldon & Co and with funding from Environment Wales.

Teifi marshes looking towards Cardigan town

Teifi Marshes looking towards Cardigan town

The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, which already owns and manages several nature reserves in the Cardigan area including the flagship Teifi Marshes and Welsh Wildlife Centre, has led the work as part of its efforts to create a Living Landscape. This involves working over a wider area than just its own nature reserves, to deliver benefits for wildlife conservation across the region.

Lizzie Wilberforce, Conservation Manager with the Wildlife Trust, said “this study has really been about our need to understand the wildlife and landscape of this beautiful part of Wales. We already knew, for example, that the Cardigan area is important for woodland species like dormice and rare bats. We also knew that both ecologically and culturally, it is characterised by the spectacular lower reaches of the river Teifi.

What this study has done is to help us gather important new data, and map the habitats and species of importance for wildlife. We can now go on to look at opportunities for us to work with partners to deliver even more benefit for the environment.”

The Wildlife Trust hopes that this recent report will help them to design and deliver new local projects by working with partners, but as Lizzie explains, this will still take time. “We’re at a very early stage in the process; we’re only just starting to develop our ideas”, she said. “It’s exciting to see the potential of new partnerships. It was important to us to work in this area as we already manage so much land here. We care for Environment Wales logoboth Cardigan Island and Cemaes Head nature reserves, which form a kind of gateway to the Teifi estuary. These sites are key wildlife hotspots, but we still need to do more. What we hope to do is increase the value of the area for both wildlife and people, recognising that they are mutually dependent.”

This work was supported by Environment Wales, with funding from the Welsh Government, and by the Countryside Council for Wales (now Natural Resources Wales) as part of its programme of research into sustaining natural beauty, wildlife and outdoor enjoyment in rural Wales and its inshore waters.