Five of Wales’ Best Bluebell Woods – and Why it’s Important to Protect Them

Five of Wales’ Best Bluebell Woods – and Why it’s Important to Protect Them

The sight of bluebells carpeting a woodland floor is one of my favourite things about spring – but Coed Cadw (the Woodland Trust in Wales), has warned that it may become increasingly rare, thanks to the impact of human activity.

Visitors to Wales’ woodlands can play an active part in protecting these precious flowers for future generations, by following a few simple guidelines this spring.

Ancient Woodland Habitats

Bluebells are usually found in bloom during April and May. The sensitive plants can take at least five years to establish and colonise, and because of this, they are often found in ancient woodlands. But sadly in Wales, ancient woodland habitat is rare, and covers only 4.5% of the land surface.

Areas of high footfall can eventually cause entire colonies of bluebells to die out, with trampling by people and dogs causing serious damage in seconds. When damaged, bluebell bulbs cannot produce enough energy to flower and reproduce in subsequent years.

“It can be very tempting to stray from the path for that perfect photo, or to get away from the crowds. But those first few footsteps soon turn into man-made paths, with lots of people doing the same thing. We have seen it happen on multiple sites, resulting in the loss of what adds up to be acres of blooms. Because of this, we are appealing for visitors to our bluebell woods to enjoy the natural splendour while protecting the flowers – by sticking to proper paths and keeping dogs on leads.” – Coed Cadw estate manager, Kylie Jones Mattock.

Such simple conservation tips are part of a Love Your Woods campaign from Coed Cadw, encouraging people to protect woods and nature for the future. Coed Cadw cares for 100 sites in Wales, and with a total area of 2,897 hectares (7,155 acres), making it one of the most important organisations for Welsh native bluebell colonies. 

Visitors to Wales’ bluebell woods can play their part in protecting them by following some simple guidelines, including sticking to paths, taking dog mess and litter home, and protecting wildlife by keeping dogs close. Find out more at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/things-to-do/love-your-woods.

Five of the best bluebell woods in Wales

1. Graig FawrMargam

This wood boasts six sites of archaeological interest including a World War II station, and a 14th century monk’s bath house. Kestrels, buzzards, sparrowhawks, little and tawny owls have all been reported here. There are dramatic views from the upper footpath and a spectacular bluebell display in spring.

Green Castle WoodsLlangain near Carmarthen

Green Castle Woods is made up of three woods: two ancient oak woods, and a more recently planted woodland. This mix of ancient and newly created woodland, plus botanically rich meadows and hedgerows, is a haven for wildlife.

Cwm George & Casehill Woods, Dinas Powys

Made up of four woodlands (Cwm George Wood, Casehill Wood, Pen-y-Turnpike Wood and Casehill Meadows), this mix of planted ancient semi-natural woodland and more recent native planting is home to a variety of flora and fauna.

Plas Power Woods, Bersham near Wrexham

Plas Power Woods is a haven for botanists, wildlife lovers and history buffs alike. Conifers are being removed from this ancient woodland site, allowing light to return to the woodland floor and native species to re-establish.

Gaer Fawr Wood, Guilsfield

Gaer Fawr occupies a hill just north of Guilsfield (Cegidfa) near Welshpool with a network of paths that lead up to an Iron Age fort at the summit. Predominantly an oak woodland, it boasts an excellent display of bluebells in spring, with views across the surrounding landscape.

 For more information about visiting woods in Wales, visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk.

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