Lost Peatlands Sites Battenberg
Cregan Habitat Restoration Area (HRA)
Cregan Habitat Restoration Area (HRA) is located in the Afan forest block, right on the edge of the Pen y Cymoedd wind farm area above Glyncorrwg, NPT. When we arrived on the scene to build on work completed by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) as part of the ‘Nant Cregan’ project, the area was a mix of standing conifers, felled woodland and remnant patches of upland habitat. The site has seen a lot of change in use through human influence that has taken its toll on the habitat that was historically present.
Our ecologists surveyed the site and took a total of 124 peat depth measurements as well as completing vegetation surveys to tell us about the current state of the habitat and the peat resource on site. Over half of the site contains peat of more than 0.5m with the deepest peat on this particular HRA being around 2m. We also found some excellent boggy areas containing some of our top 10 species including lots of Sphagnum and Drosera rotundifolia (sundews) as well as finding Nightjar on site in the summer of 2021.
By restoring this area we will create a haven for the upland wildlife of the Afan valley and protect the peatland and its specialist biodiversity.
We will be running volunteering and training events for this site which you can learn more about by contacting LostPeatlands@npt.gov.uk, or keep up to date with our progress by signing up to our newsletter. If you want to see the site for yourself you can find our promoted walking routes here.
Castell Nos Habitat Restoration Area
Castell Nos HRA is located on the upland plateau above Maerdy, RCT. Named for the ancient monument which stands on the shoulder of the valley to the west, this site contains the deepest peat of any of our HRAs and had the greatest amounts of specialist bog species during our baseline surveys. We also have a population of water voles on site which we will be monitoring throughout the project.
Like all of our sites Castell Nos HRA has a long history of land use which has changed the habitat significantly. The site is dominated by huge amounts of Molinia caerulea (purple moor grass) with the specialist bog species we love limited to the flattest, wettest areas on site. The site also has a history of wild grass fires which damaged the vegetation on site.
One unique feature of this area is large erosion features that are seen clearly from aerial imagery. These channels need more substantial dams than our other sites in order to hold back the water, and we’ll be installing these as a practical conservation event for our Lost Peatlands volunteers, as well as monitoring the after effects of carrying out this work.
Restoring the Castell Nos HRA will create a fantastic peatland habitat and a valuable resource for species which rely on the uplands of the Rhondda valleys including water vole and nightjar.
Cwm Saerbren Habitat Restoration Area
Cwm Saerbren HRA sits on the western plateau above the Rhondda Fawr. Named for the Cwm which the site overlooks, the area contains large reserves of previously afforested peatland as well as an area of coal spoil at the north eastern extents - a fantastic resource for biodiversity including fungi and invertebrates.
The site also has areas of wet and dry heathland and supports some of our top 10 project species including green tiger beetle. To the east of the site there is the Mynydd ty Isaf SSSI and you can sometimes see raptors nesting in the upper crags of the valley sides.
Restoring the Cwm Saerbren HRA will provide an area for the biodiversity of the uplands of the Rhondda valleys to thrive and help protect the peatland habitat within the site.
Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Habitat Management Area
The wind farm habitat management area consists of a 1500 ha area of upland plateau that stretches from Aberdare to Neath and straddles both the Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) and Neath Port Talbot (NPT) counties. It currently supports a mosaic of commercial conifer plantation at various stages of growth and large areas of felled woodland. The central section of the Habitat Management Area (HMA) is the focus during the Lost Peatlands project. You can find out more about this here
Cymmer Tip Community Wild Space (CWS)
The Cymmer Tip CWS sits adjacent to the Afon Corrwg and just to the north of Cymmer. The site is a mosaic of species rich habitats formed on coal spoil. There are areas of wet heath and wet acid grasslands which attract a rich assemblage of invertebrates. The site follows the course of the Afan Corrwg for c1200m and sloped in an overall southerly aspect. The site is designated a site of importance for nature conservation.
Glyncorrwg Community Wild Space
The Glyncorrwg CWS sits adjacent to Glyncorrwg. It is a small parcel of previously afforested land now dominated by purple moor grass. The site slopes on a north-easterly aspect and is bordered to the west by areas of planted coniferous woodland. The site is bordered on three sides by a road or track, with the final boundary being a fence line which divides the site from privately owned land to the North-West. The site is designated a site of importance for nature conservation.
Gwynfi Community Wild Space
The Gwynfi CWS lies adjacent to Gwynfi Street in the town of Blaengwynfi. The site is located on a slope with a generally southerly aspect. The site is comprised of a mosaic of neutral and dry acid grassland. The site lies within and adjacent to areas of plantation coniferous forestry to the north. The site is designated a site of importance for nature conservation.
Blaenrhondda Community Wild Space
The Blaenrhondda CWS covers the named peak of Pen Pych. The boundary of the CWS is based upon a circular path to the summit of Pen Pych and back to the Pen Pych car park. The site covers a variety of habitats including broadleaved woodland, plantation coniferous woodland on the summit, heathland, grassland and crags. There are also two waterfalls present along the watercourse to the west of the CWS, the Nant Berw Wion. The site is designated a site of importance for nature conservation.
Cwm Parc Community Wild Space
The Cwmparc CWS exhibits a mosaic of habitats including areas of broadleaf woodland and bracken dominated slopes as well as plantation coniferous woodland. The Cwmparc CWS sits adjacent to the northern limits of Cwmparc and the Western limits of Treorchy. The site is designated a site of importance for nature conservation.
Hendre Mynydd Community Wild Space
The Hendre Mynydd CWS sits adjacent to the Pen y Cymoedd habitat management area, north of the town of Blaenrhondda. It has excellent links to the Blaenrhondda CWS and Hendre’r Mynydd Car Park. The site consists of extensive areas of heathland, grassland and rocky scree with the Nant Garreg Llewyd bisecting the CWS. The site is designated a site of importance for nature conservation.