Cymer and Glyncorrwg
The ward may appear to be dominated by conifer plantation and the Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm but that isn’t the whole story. The areas which appear to have been most influenced by man have actually created interesting habitats for wildlife. The conifer plantations have created some unexpected conditions for lower plants and are perfect nesting places for a number of bird species that otherwise would not be here. The SINCs running along the Afan valley floor are actually former collier spoil heaps that have recently been recognised as having high value for biodiversity, mimicking natural habitats such as sand dunes that we are losing due to development pressure. In the village of Glyncorrwg there are 3 SINCs. Ynys Corrwg Farm is designated for its mixture of grasslands and heathland elements. St John’s Graveyard is designated for its rich wall flora and ancient Yew trees. Bryn Gwyn is an example of modified blanket bog. A few sites are managed under NPT Bee Friendly. A BLine passes through the centre of the ward. The Lost Peatlands project is managing two ‘Community Wild Spaces’ in the ward.
The conifer plantations are home to birds such as Goshawk, Crossbill, Siskin and potentially Honey buzzard. In the winter they are often visited by Great grey shrike, a bird that likes to keep its food for later by skewering it to a twig. In the late spring Nightjar can be heard churring in clear-felled areas. Taking advantage of the limestone tracks in the forestry, Stag’s-horn clubmoss can be found. The upland bogs and deep peat have a number of species of sphagnum moss as well as Bog asphodel, Heath milkwort and Bell heather. Species recorded on the coal spoil include Small pearl-bordered fritillary, Adder, Dingy skipper, Bell heather, Bilberry, Goldenrod and Heather. The rivers and tributaries are important for Otter, Dipper and Kingfisher. The farmland is important for Skylark, Brown hare, Red kite and Buzzard. Orchids are a common site in the roadside verges.
- Despite its importance for nature, coal spoil is undervalued and often threatened by development or tree planting. Take the time to value the habitats on these special sites and raise awareness with others through guided discovery walks or promotion.
- Support and promote the Lost Peatlands sites and events which will be taking place over the next few years- more info at npt.gov.uk/21367
- The River Afan has issues with invasive non-native plant species which you can help tackle by organising balsam bashes.