5 Wild Things To Do in Cardiff this Year

Kingfishers can be seen along the River Taff. Photo: Malcolm Brown

5 Wild Things To Do in Cardiff this Year

Even in the heart of Wales’ Capital City wildlife thrives. The Trust’s ‘My Wild Cardiff’ project, which is generously supported by the Players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, has been running in Cardiff for a couple of years. The project focuses on encouraging Cardiff residents to improve their own garden spaces for wildlife, and learn about the unlikely but important wild spaces and wildlife found in Cardiff.

Below we list five fantastic wild areas of Cardiff to explore and where you can get involved with the events of the My Wild Cardiff project.

1.       Coed-y-Bedw Nature Reserve

A stream at the Coed y Bedw reserve

Coed Y Bedw. Photo: Vaughn Matthews

 

Coed-y-Bedw Nature Reserve is a fantastic woodland reserve well known for its stunning display of bluebells in spring. Located in the outskirts of North Cardiff, the reserve lies at the bottom of the Garth, between the villages of Gwaelod-y-Garth and Pentyrch.  It is a designated Site of Special Scientific interest (SSSI) and is the perfect place for a lazy weekend stroll.

What to do:

·         The best time to visit is in early-mid May so that you can enjoy spring woodland flowers at their best, especially bluebells, and smell the wild garlic.

·         A very popular circular walk takes in the beautiful reserve and guides you to the top of the Garth, but there are plenty of paths that take you to the heart of the reserve if you prefer a shorter walk.

·         Volunteer for the Wildlife Trust and help to maintain Coed-y-Bedw Nature Reserve, just get in touch with Vaughn at v.matthews@welshwildlife.org .

 

2.       National Museum Cardiff/Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd

The National museum is the perfect wild adventure for a rainy day. Admission is free for a wild range of exhibitions from impressionist art to dinosaur

Unknown Wales Conference

s. The favourite exhibition for many visitors is the natural history collection. This collection is the perfect place to discover the diversity of wildlife and habitats Wales has to offer. Did you know that the coastal scene of puffins and guillemots is based on our reserve off the coast of Pembrokeshire, Skomer Island?

 

What to do:

·         Every year the Trust and the Museum collaborate to put on a day of talks celebrating the lesser known wildlife of Wales. This year’s ‘Unknown Wales’ will be held on Saturday 17th October 2020 – save the date!

 

3.       Forest Farm and Glamorgan Canal

Forest Farm is one of the best wildlife sites in the City. Located to the North West of Cardiff on the banks of the River Taff, this reserve is full of spectacular wildlife. There is plenty to see here from spotting beautiful kingfishers flitting up and down Glamorgan Canal, to dippers bobbing on the banks of the river.

What to do:

·         Make your commute wilder by using the Taff Trail to get to work, this path runs from Castell Coch to the city centre. Walk or cycle, you never know what you might see before the start of a busy day.

·         On Saturday 15th February we are teaming up with the Cardiff Community Park Rangers to demonstrate how to create a haven for birds in your garden this winter.

Otter. Photo: Tommy Evans

·         We’ll also be back in late October to do a survey for otter tracks and signs in the part of the Taff that runs through the reserve – look out for details on our website.

 

4.        Bute Park

Bute Park, the green heart of Cardiff, is home to creatures you might not expect to find in the city. Hedgehogs, herons, cormorants and dippers are regular sightings in this park. But have you seen the Otters that have been found in the section of the River Taff that runs through the park?

Featured on Iolo Williams’ Great Welsh Parks, these otters can be elusive and shy away from the people and dogs that regularly use the park during the day. At dawn and dusk, when visitors to the park have left, these otters are active and leave behind tell-tale signs that they were there – footprints and droppings. Take a walk along the river on a quiet early morning and you might be lucky enough to see one!

What to do:

·         Each April we take part in the Cardiff RHS Show held in Bute Park, this year the show is held Friday 17th to Sunday 19th April. At the show visit our feature garden to learn about small features you can add to your garden which will make a big difference to wildlife.

·         Learn more about the Bute Park otters at our Otters in the City event in May.

·         In October (Saturday 24th) we’re teaming up with the Bute Park Education Centre to talk all about Hedgehogs and what we can do to help them live successfully in an urban area.

 

5.       St. Fagans National Museum of History

St. Fagans Museum is known for the historical buildings that have been relocated to its grounds from across Wales. There is more to see at this

Looking for Bumblebees in St Fagans. Photo: Carys Evans

site then you might expect. In fact, wildlife is crammed into every corner of this beautiful site. At the edges of the castle ponds a diverse array of dragonflies and damselflies zoom over the water.

 

In the tannery pits you can find newts, and in the castle gardens the flowers are covered in bumblebees. Within the grounds there are also examples of old farming methods that had an accidental beneficial impact on wildlife, e.g. hedge laying and hay meadows. These heritage skills are being revived today in conservation efforts to bring back harmony between agriculture and wildlife.

 

What to do:

·         Join us on a walk through the meadow areas of the museum looking for wildflowers and bumblebees to celebrate National Meadows Day.

 

Check our website and social media for more events and updates on our work in Cardiff this year.

For more wild inspiration look out for our 30 Days Wild campaign which will challenge you to do one random act of wildness in Cardiff every day in June.