Get Inspired by Nature: Warpool Court Hotel’s Peter Trier Says, ‘Go Wild’
“The Pembrokeshire Coast and countryside is teeming with wildlife,” says Warpool Court Hotel owner Peter Trier. “Take time to discover lesser-known beauty and rich vegetation within our land’s reserves.”
In addition to the Coastal Way and National Parks, Wales is ideal for wildlife, watching with its 216 Wildlife Trust nature reserves and 11 RSPB sanctuaries.
Turn any corner in Pembrokeshire, and you’ll be greeted by the perfect habitat for so much wildlife - breathtaking landscapes comprised of ancient farms, unusual woodlands, and precious wetlands.
The preservation of fragile natural resources is increasingly a priority for many places and Pembrokeshire is no different. Reserves such as the 41-acre Llangoffan Fen / Corsydd Llangoffan have been designated to protect threatened species and wildlife habitats and provide a natural environment for everyone to enjoy.
Llangoffan Fen is a mire - a low trough between two slight rises in the surrounding countryside. It is part of the western end of one of the largest remaining floodplains in Wales. It’s integral to the ecological system, helping control river flow when there is extreme weather and acting as a reservoir for excess water.
Before visiting, it’s a good idea to get a book on wildlife, wildflowers and native grasses to help you identify the various types of animals, plants and wetlands wildflowers. There is a circular footpath through the reserve that makes it possible for you to walk and enjoy the serenity of the environment.
As with any outdoor location, there’s so much life to be discovered - flies, bugs, beetles, spiders, ants, and bees. Depending on when in the season you visit, you may either see caterpillars or butterflies. Look for different varieties of butterflies - Large Whites, Small Tortoiseshells, Red Admirals, Ringlets and Small Skippers. You may also see dragonflies darting about, showing off their incredible speed and agility.
See how many different plants – and wildflowers - you can find: Marsh Cinquefoil, tall fen meadows of Meadowsweet, Yellow Flag, Purple Moor Grass, Willow Carr, Reed Canary Grass, St John's-wort, Common Reed., high tussocks of Greater Pond Sedge and Greater Tussock Sedge. Water Dock occurs in the wettest parts of the fen. This is also one of only two known locations in Pembrokeshire for Great Fen-sedge.
Try to identify birds such as: Corncrake, Quail and Spotted Crake, which have been spotted in the eastern part of the reserve. Breeding species here include Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Grasshopper Warblers. Barn Owls make their appearance in the evening.
Keep your eyes open for other animals too, including: Otters, Water Voles, Hedgehogs, Badgers, Foxes and Water Shrews have been seen. Polecats, which are restricted to specific parts of Wales and border counties, also find their way here.
You’ll find the fen part-way between the villages of Llangloffan and Castlemorris, next to an ancient road bridge over the river. There is a car park for 8 vehicles. (The handrail and steps to the river’s edge below the bridge are the remains of a baptistry.) A further short drive towards Mathry offers a second car park and access point along the B4331 (Mathry road beyond Castlemorris village). There you’ll walk across a field to reach the boardwalk. (Note the bird hide and further along the bridges over the Western Cleddau River.)
“When visiting our reserves, please respect the wildlife by leaving things undisturbed,” says Peter Trier. “Take away rubbish which can contain chemicals fatal to animals when eaten.”
Note there are no facilities inside the reserves, but you can swing by the Siop Fach Tearoom in Mathry for coffee and cake.
You can get more information on butterfly conservation, plant life, bats, mammals, amphibian and reptile conservation from the Woodland Trust and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.