Coed Cwm Doethie – Mynydd Mallaen
Cwm Doethie – Mynydd Mallaen, consisting largely of steep-sided valleys and upland tracts, is located in the southern part of the Cambrian Mountains. It is of outstanding interest for its heath and woodland habitats and wildlife and, in particular, its birdlife.
Doethie – Mynydd Mallaen has a large area of old sessile oak wood along a series of inter-connected valleys. The site is one of several examples representing this habitat in the core of its Welsh range. Sessile oak Quercus petraea woodland predominates, with a typical acidic ground flora and rich lower plant component.
The RSPB reserve at Gwenffrwd-Dinas nestles along these steep sided valleys clothed in woodland. The reserve contains important habitats of oak woodland, wet alder woodland and scrubland subject to high levels of rainfall and with fast flowing rivers.
The habitat supports important populations of lower plants, particularly of lichens and bryophytes. These green carpets cover the trees, ground and boulders making everything verdant and damp.
Thewoodlands are managed for the diversity of lower plants as well as for theirkey populations of woodland birds, many of them migrants, such as the piedflycatcher, tree pipit, wood warbler and redstart. Management seeks to createthe right conditions of humidity and light with a variety of structures frommore open wood pasture through to scrubby wet woodland to provide all theniches for the range of different birds.
Grazingis an important conservation tool helping manage woodland structure andpreventing all areas of woodlands from becoming dominated by bramble and scruband keeping some areas open including the staggeringly beautiful bluebellcarpets.
The Dinas trailis open from dawn till dusk, and the trail around the Dinas takes about 2 hoursto complete. There is a boardwalk at the start of the trail from the carpark,however the majority of the trail is rugged, steep in places and next to a fastflowing river and to fully complete requires some scrambling.
There is ashort steep trail from the main footpath up through the Dinas to Twm SionCati’s cave, the Welsh Folklore figure often often referred to as the WelshRobin Hood, where he was reputed to have hid to avoid capture from theauthorities.