|Places to visit in Carmarthenshire|
Carmarthenshire stretches from the open uplands in the north to the sweeping coastline of Carmarthen Bay, with a variety of natural habitats that make the county so distinctive. Home to a diverse range of wildlife – or biodiversity – there is somewhere for every nature lover to enjoy, whatever the season. From local nature reserves to sites of international importance, many of these sites are accessible to the public and most have information on site explaining more about the habitat and wildlife you can see there. Here are just a few of the county's special habitats that can be visited. For more information please contact the individual organisations that manage each of the sites.
Many of the habitats shown here have theeir own action plan in the county's Local Biodiversity Action Plan which covers key habitats and species and aims to maintain and enhance our biodiversity and raise awareness of the importance of our wildlife and the many ways in which it benifits us.
Ashpits Pond and Pwll Lagoon
The favourite habitat of the rare dormouse is found along Ffordd y Wagen which includes hazel, bramble and tangles of honeysuckle. It spends most of its time above ground in the canopy. In late summer the rare white-letter hairstreak butterfly can be seen above the canopy with its jerky flight. The foodplant of the caterpillar are the elm trees that grow here. Listen out for the woodland dawn chorus of goldfinch, greenfinch, song thrush, blackbird and robin. Evening birdsong is almost as good. Many ferns grow here adding a green luxuriance. Look out for soft shield fern, hart`s-tongue fern and male fern. The area is also a stronghold for the all-yellow brimstone butterfly as its alder buckthorn foodplant is common here, upon which its caterpillars feed. The area of reed surrounding the pond provides shelter especially during the breeding season. Look out for mute swan, mallard, tufted duck, little grebe, great crested grebe, coot and moorhen. Water rail, pochard, shoveler and gadwall are all winter visitors.
Grid Reference: SN475008
Phone: Reserves Ranger on 01554 772368
Mature mixed broadleaf and coniferous woodland. The Forest Garden has a variety of rare and exotic trees - quite spectacular in the autumn!
Grid Reference: SN587338
Phone: 01550 720394
Carmel Woods National Nature Reserve
Mixed ash woodland, open water, bog and traditionally managed grassland make up this reserve. Most intriguing is the disappearing pool fed only by underground water - it vanishes in the summer!
Grid Reference: SN589161
Phone: 01558 825800
Castle Woods Nature Reserve
Ancient mixed oak woodland noted for its spring carpets of bluebells. walk to the castle to gain fine views of the River Tywi valley.
Grid Reference: SN625221
Phone: 01239 621600
Ancient woodland and mire worth visiting for its wildlife - over a hundred species of plant have been recorded here and the elusive dormouse lives in the wood.
Grid Reference: SN641217
Phone: 01686 412508
Walk through wet woodland and oak woods to the fast-flowing River Tywi. Red kites are frequent and summer migrants include pied flycatchers and redstarts.
Grid Reference: SN787470
Phone: RSPB 029 20353000
Open parkland dominated by majestic veteran trees that are host to rare lichens and insects. Watch out for the park's herd of fallow deer or discover the bog wood!
Grid Reference: SN625225
Phone: National Trust 01558 823 902
Gelli Aur Country Park
Woodland, parkland, ponds and flower rich hay meadow. There is a herd of fallow deer and fine veteran trees in the deer park.
Grid Reference: SN595197
Phone: 01558 668885
Green Castle Woods
Ancient oak woods, rich wildflower meadows and wetland. One of the best bluebell woods in the country and has a wonderful display of autumn colours.
Grid Reference: SN391167
Phone: 01686 412508
Llyn Llech Owain Country Llyn Llech Owain Country Park
Lake and peat bog surrounded by coniferous woodland and areas of heath. Good for spotting reptiles and colourful dragon and damsel flies.
Grid Reference: SN566150
Phone: 01269 832229
Millennium Coastal Park
Coastal paths with ponds and lakes full of bird life. Good coastal views out on to the mud flats and beaches of the Burry Inlet.
Grid Reference: SS496995
Phone: Millennium Coastal Park 01554 777744
National Wetlands Centre Wales
A range of coastal wetland habitats with a rich variety of birdlife all year round. Has one of the largest populations of water vole in Wales.
Grid Reference: SS531983
Phone: WWT 01554 741087
North Dock Dunes
Pioneer plants grow closest to the sea and can withstand high salt concentrations. These include sand couch grass, saltwort, sea sandwort and sea rocket. The strandline is very important for invertebrates where it forms a damp refuge from the heat of the mid-day sun. Look out for sand hoppers and beetles. Sand dunes defy gravity! They are formed when dry sand is blown up the beach and becomes trapped by pioneer plants. Marram grass is found on the larger dunes. The grassland is a blaze of colour in spring. Look out for cat's-ear, autumn hawkbit and smooth hawk's-beard all with the characteristic yellow daisy-like flowers. The distinctive sea holly, sea spurge and the elusive yellow-horned poppy also occur here. The pink sea bindweed grows trailing along the ground. Look out for over wintering birds such as pintail, redshank, dunlin and curlew. The area is also a popular hight-tide roost for gulls, waders and ducks. Characterisitc plants of the saltmarsh include sea purslane which fills the mid salt marsh. Sea couch grass is found right at the top of the saltmarsh by the path. Look out for the small blue butterfly which occurs along with its only food plant the kidney vetch. The rare marbled white butterfly whose food plant includes the grass red fescue now has its stronghold in dune grassland. Flowers adorn the sheltered bank such as the locally common sea campion, the intensely yellow bird's-foot trefoil and the uncommon greater knapweed. Butterflies include common blue, red admiral and large white.
Grid Reference: SS497995
Phone: Reserves Ranger on 01554 772368
Pembrey Burrows and Saltings Local Nature Reserve
Sand dunes and salt marsh. Exellent for coastal plants, birds and insects. The saltmarsh provides a haven for coastal birds.
Grid Reference: SS410996
Phone: Millenium Coastal Park 01554 777744
Pembrey Country Park
Trails through pine forest include flower rich open rides that attract much insect life. Beach comb along 8 miles of golden sands and sand dunes.
Grid Reference: SN402000
Phone: 01554 833913
A sand dune forest of mainly Corsican pine rich in wildlife. Many butterflies and orchids can be seen along the open rides during the summer.
Grid Reference: SN413006
Phone: 01639 710221
Pendine - coastal walk west towards Amroth
Coastal walk from pendine along maritime cliff tops, taking in coastal heath. Many seabirds use the coastline and there are spectacular views across Carmarthen Bay.
Grid Reference: SN232078
Phone: 01554 747500