Top 7 winter reserves to visit this Christmas!

Snow at Teifi Marshes by Nathan Walton

Snow at Teifi Marshes by Nathan Walton

Winter is in full-swing, the nights are drawing in and the temperature is dropping.

It can be very tempting to hide away from the elements until spring, but there are so many beautiful sights to be seen even in the winter!

Christmas can often come and go in a blur of delicious food, alcohol and Christmas television. This Christmas why not bring the family together for a frosty, festive, winter walk?

With over 110 nature reserves to choose from, you really are spoilt for choice!

Here are our top 7 reserves which are definitely worth a visit this winter:

Ystradfawr Nature Reserve, Ystradgynlais, SA9 1SE

Ystradfawr by Carys Evans

Previously a site of extensive coal mining, this wonderful reserve is an excellent example of how nature can reclaim the landscape. Now home to an array of wildlife from Woodcocks and Snipes to Marsh Fritillary Butterflies this reserve really is a sight to behold.

Accessible via a Sustrans cycle track, Ystradfawr is the perfect winter reserve offering family friendly walks and exquisite views across the valley. Wander through the woodland for the chance to see winter bird visitors feeding on berries and discover hints of the reserves mining past.

Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve, Pembrokeshire

Teifi Marshes by John Thomas

If you’re looking for a day out for the whole family, look no further than the Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve. Situated on the former course of the Teifi, this vast reserve offers a range of habitats making it the perfect spot to see all manners of wildlife.

Look out over the meadows and see the curious faces of Deer grazing whilst hundreds of Starlings dance above your head preparing to roost amongst the reed bed. With excellent access across the reserve, a visit to the Teifi Marshes is a must whether you’re on foot or cycling!

When you are done exploring the reserve, little ones will love playing on the adventure playground and ending the day with some delicious home cooked food in the award winning Glasshouse Café. For those keen wildlife watchers, we recommend staying at Oak Tree Cottage to get some early access to the reserve. Perhaps you’ll spot some Otters!

Port Eynon Point, Gower

Port Eynon Point by Lizzie Wilberforce

What better way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the festive season than the seaside? Part of the Coastal Path, Port Eynon Point offers incredible vistas out to sea. It is the perfect base for a spot of sea watching with the whole family. Interesting birds are seen year around; if you’re lucky you may spot the enigmatic Oyster Catcher!

Wrap up warm and head to the Port Eynon Point, you will not be disappointed!

Parc Slip, Bridgend

Parc Slip by Meg Howells

Parc Slip is an accessible and family friendly reserve all year around, boasting a range of habitats and  walks for all to enjoy. With the shorter days and low sun of winter, visitors to Parc Slip can enjoy spectacular sunrises and sunsets over the reserve. The sun casts an orange hue, shadows dance before your eyes as Finches fly overhead.

Families can enjoy a mud-free walk along the many cycle paths that run through the reserve. For the more adventurous members of the family, why not take a walk through the woodland?

No visit to Parc Slip is complete without a bite to eat and a warm drink in our Visitor Centre café. With views across the reserve, the café is the perfect spot to look through your photographs or just enjoy each others company.

We will be completing numerous improvements to Parc Slip over the next 12 months, you can read about them here: https://www.welshwildlife.org/wtsww-news/exciting-improvements-for-parc-slip/

Y Gweira, Llantrisant

Y Gweira by Lorna Baggett

Y Gweira is a beautiful place to visit in the winter months. This little nature reserve nestled in the corner of Llantrisant common has a diverse array of plantlife and is home to invertebrates such as butterflies and dragonflies, as well as reptiles and breeding birds like Meadow Pipit and Skylark. At this time of year walking through the marshy grassland you will be surprised by Snipe who’ll spring from under your feet. Early morning there is often mist sitting on the meadow, and if you go there during a frost or in the snow, the colours of the hawthorn berries and the lichens on the trees will contrast starkly with the white landscape.

Cwm Clettwr, Tre'r Ddôl, Ceredigion

Cwm Clettwr by Em Foot

Take a walk on the wild side this winter at Cwm Clettwr. See the sunlight dance between the trees as the birds soar above your head. Cwm Clettwr offers the perfect winter walk providing accessible paths and a circular route for all to enjoy. Listen as the river Clettwr splashes down through the old moss and fern filled oak woodlands, you may even spot the bop of the characteristic Dipper! Thanks to vital conservation work, Dormice thrive at this site. Take a minute to enjoy the spectacular views down the valley and out to sea across Borth Bog.

Poor Man’s Wood, Llandovery

Poor Man's Wood by Lizzie Wilberforce

This Oak woodland was originally donated to the town of Llandovery in the sixteenth century with the condition that the people of Llandovery were able to enter the woodland and take any dead wood for fuel providing they can carry it on their backs. Hence the name - Poor Man’s Wood.

Visit this little piece of local history and take in the spectacular views across the upper Towy valley. Bask in the presence of giant Oaks, and Wild Service Trees some of only a handful within the county! Be sure to visit the rustic hide for a glimpse of some elusive wildlife!

Find a reserve near you and have a WILD Christmas!