The abundance of nature here in West Wales is one of the best reasons to visit this wonderful area and there are in fact more than 70 National Nature Reserve in Wales, where habitats and wildlife are protected. AutumnWatch 2022 was actually filmed in our nearest Nature Reserve, the Welsh Wildlife Center and Teifi Marshes. There are plenty of other options available within an hour or two's drive, but these are our closest.
1. The Welsh Wildlife Centre, Cilgerran The Welsh Wildlife Centre is just 10 minutes away from us, in the nearby village of Cilgerran. You can drive there, or a great option is to park up in Cardigan then cross the old bridge and walk over the boardwalks to reach it that way. It's only about a mile each way, and is perfectly flat for buggies or wheelchairs. The newly refurbished visitors centre is a beautiful construction and houses interactive information screens, a fab information centre, a shop, and also the Glasshouse Café, which is good food at good prices. If it's nice, you can take your food outside and enjoy the stunning views over the Teifi valley and Cardigan town.
In the school holidays it's worth checking to see if they have anything on for the kids. There's usually nature based arts and crafts, or bug finding and that kind of thing which you can book ahead for. It's a wonderful place to visit at any time of year, there'll always be something to see!
2. Pengelli Forest National Nature Reserve, Cardigan Pengelli Forest is part of the largest area of ancient oak woodland in West Wales, where you'll see sessile oak, ash, alder, and birch trees. Near the entrance is a very useful map, which allows you to pick the length of your walk and follow the coloured guide arrow all the way round. It's a great place to head to see bluebells in the spring, and there are plenty of other beautiful wild flowers too as well as hazel, honeysuckle, hawthorn and holly.
3. Ty Canol National Nature Reserve, Cardigan This enchanting reserve is covered in ancient oak trees, and rocky outcrops surrounded by wood pasture which as been grazed by cattle, sheep, and ponies for centuries. This open type of woodland means that lichen thrive in this area, because the woodland plants that would have prevent lichen from growing have been grazed. You can also walk to the mystical Pentre Ifan burial chamber from here.
4. Llys-y-Fran Reservoir The reservoir and surrounding habitats form part of the Cleddau Rivers special area of conservation and the mix of farmland, woodland, scrub and waterside make it an area rich in a variety of wildlife. You'll find badgers, foxes, otters, and polecats among the woods and forest floor. There is a circular footpath of about 6.5 miles around the reservoir, which includes a self-guided nature trail, and a variety of other land and water based activities on offer.