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Visit to Coed Felinrhyd and Llennyrch led by The Woodland Trust

19 September 2017

A truly fabulous day was enjoyed by 10 people who had travelled from as far as Liverpool and Newport to Maentwrog, North Wales.

Our expert guide for the day was Woodland Trust Site Manager for North Wales Kylie Jones Mattock who was assisted by her colleague Alastair Hotchkiss, an expert in lichen’s among other things.

Llennyrch was purchased by the Woodland Trust in 2015 via funds from a legacy, a public appeal which raised £400,000 as well as charitable trusts and £50,000 from Natural Resources Wales (NRW). Together with their existing site Coed Felinrhyd, it makes for a superb day out.

The site is steeped in a fascinating history dating back to a 16th century farmhouse – soon to be listed – which is surrounded by ancient ash trees and holds lesser horseshoe bats. Kylie regaled us with tales of ancient myths of local landlords being murdered for their money and elderly resident’s prophesizing the collapse of the bridge to Maentwrog upon their death. (Coed Felinrhyd is even mentioned in the early mediaeval legends of the Mabinogion as Melerhyd, where Gwydion and Pryderi fought over stolen magic swine!)

The area has been farmed since that time for arable and grazing but minimal intervention to the soils has resulted in several species of waxcap that are of National Importance and the site could be one of the best in Wales for charismatic grassland fungi.

Our guided walk in the beautiful sunshine took us to a bog to witness its special flora and then on into the woodland designated as a SSSI for its Atlantic bryophytes. The site is also designated as part of the Meirionnydd Oakwoods and Bat Sites SAC and is also deemed an Important Plant Area by Plantlife.

Alastair led us down a very steep bank towards the Afon Prysor tumbling below us – a mecca for 4000+ gorge walking enthusiasts a year. He excitedly showed us several species of rare lichen, my favourites being the hazel glue fungus and blackberries and custard lichen – the only place in Wales to find it.

Kylie explained The Woodland Trust’s aim for the site which includes thinning of the planted conifer to allow the understorey to grow up slowly rather than a complete clear-fell, and removal of the rhododendron infestation. They will slowly allow the ancient woodland that was, along with the Atlantic Bryophytes, to regenerate whilst allowing some grazing to keep bramble down. Reassessments will be made every 5 years.

With special thanks to Kylie and Alastair for leading the walk.

 

Author and photos: Rebecca Clews-Roberts ACIEEM, Welsh Section Committee

 

Coed Felinrhyd and LlennyrchCoed Felinrhyd and Llennyrch