Rhydymwyn Valley Nature Reserve

 Located just outside Mold this fascinating reserve has a large variety of wildlife.

 

General Information

Rhydymwyn Valley Nature Reserve Guide       Discover the Secret Valley….

Wildlife matters March 2012     Wildlife matters May 2012

 

Overview

The site is situated approximately 2 miles outside of the town of Mold, heading out towards Denbigh. It is approximately 1 mile in length and covers a total of 35 hectares (84 acres). This site has an interesting history from early lead mining activities, to visits from the composer Mendelson, to life as a WWII chemical weapons factory. The habitat is varied between grassland, wetland and deciduous woodland providing a superb area of high biological diversity and many empty buildings are being reclaimed by nature providing a home for bats in particular. The river Alyn runs through the site creating some of the wetland areas whilst others have been man-made to enhance amphibian populations. Other managed additions include tree planting, erection of nesting boxes and a bird hide with feeders to draw in the shy woodland birds and help them to see the winter through. During the summer months highland cattle are brought in to manage the grassland to improve wild flower diversity.   

Management of the site has been made possible thanks to the co-operation between its owners, the Estates Division of DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), and NEWWildlife with a ten year agreement to manage the nature conservation interests of the reserve. The site was passed to Defra in 1994 from MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food), who used the site under its emergency food storage scheme. Defra immediately undertook remediation works, with the view to making the site safe for future public access. In 2004 Defra contracted NEWW to manage the wildlife interest of the site and Rhydymwyn Valley officially became a Nature Reserve. Site management is covered by Interserve, who also manage public access to the reserve.

Due to health and safety on site DEFRA have a 1:7 inducted persons ratio for access to the site. You may therefore visit with a person who has been inducted or become inducted through the membership schemes yourself. There are also many events and courses for the public to attend held at the site and a volunteering scheme to assist staff with ecological management. The site is very accessible for wheelchairs and buggies with tarmac roads running through the site, the only exceptions being the woodland trail and access to the bird hide which is via a flight of steps, although there are plans to build an access ramp, depending on successful funding bids. No dogs are allowed on site unless a guide dog for the blind/deaf/etc.

Key Species list

 There are 1,471+ species recorded at this site. Flora species include many species of Fungi and familiar plants like Bluebell, wild Garlic and Lesser celandine along with scarcer species like Herb Paris, Broad-leaved Helleborine and Star of Bethlehem. Of 83 bird species common sights are Great spotted woodpecker, Jay and Buzzard and closer scrutiny of the woodland can reveal Marsh tit, Raven, yellowhamer and Lesser Redpoll.  Invertebrate species total 639 which include butterfly species such as the familiar Large white, Peacock, Red Admiral and small tortoiseshell along with less abundant species such as Grayling, Small Heath and White-Letter Hairstreak . The site is a refuge for many species of beetle, spider and dragonfly, the rarest record being the Red Veined Darter. Of 24 mammals there are common species such as badger and wood mouse and scarcer species like Otter, Polecat and Lesser horseshoe Bat. 5 amphibians include the Great crested Newt and 3 reptile species comprise of Grass snake, common lizard and slow worm.  

Further Information

 Our vision is that the Reserve will be a vibrant hub at the heart of a network of connections – ecological, physical, intellectual and social – linking communities, both human and natural, in the Alyn Valley. Many exciting projects are underway. An orchard has been created with examples of rare orchard varieties from North Wales to be conserved. Local people, volunteers and wildlife will benefit from our new willow bed where the trees act as valuable habitat and will also be harvested for use in crafts such as basketry and willow structures. Subject to funding, we hope to establish a community wildflower meadow adjacent to the orchard to help re-instate this valuable habitat, creating a fantastic area beneficial to birds, mammals, insects and more.  

These are examples of the way we plan to manage the reserve sustainably, for the benefit of wildlife and people alike. The work that takes place here will contribute to wider plans and initiatives to conserve UK biodiversity, and we hope that you will be a part of it. Throughout the year there are many activities to get involved with, please visit our web page for the full calendar of events: http://www.newwildlife.org.uk/events/

Recent sightings

For information on news and recent sightings at the site please visit us on twitter or facebook.