Coed Llechwedd

Cymraeg

Coed Llechwedd

Part of the Meirionnydd Oakwoods and Bat Sites SAC.

The ancient woodland and grassland habitats of Coed Llechwedd support lesser horseshoe bats and many breeding birds. In spring, this mixed ash and oak woodland is filled with woodland wildflowers in bloom. It can be accessed on foot from Harlech as part of a longer walk taking in the historic landscape of the hillsides above.

Coed Llechwedd comprises part of an extensive area of woodland and ‘ffridd’ occupying a prominent, steep, north-westerly facing slope. It is part of a complex of often ancient oak and ash woodlands flanking the coastal plains to the north-east of Harlech, on often boulder-strewn and craggy terrain. The lower slopes and northern part of the site support semi-natural woodland, likely to be ancient in origin. On higher ground, mature woodland grades into a mosaic of bracken, grassland, scrub, scattered trees and open/patchy woodland. To the east, where the craggy nature of the terrain eases, is an enclosed field supporting unimproved acidic grassland and bracken with locally abundant scrub.

The mature woodland is notably varied, rather more so than many of the other woods within the Meirionnydd Oakwoods and Bat Sites SAC, of which Coed Llechwedd is a part. The lower slopes tend to be base-rich, supporting vegetation typical of upland ashwoods: the canopy is dominated by ash with frequent sycamore and wild cherry, the shrub layer is well developed comprising mainly hazel, wych elm and young ash and sycamore and the field layer supports abundant bramble, ancient woodland flora and ferns (particularly softshield-fern). The upper slopes tend to be somewhat more acidic, supporting agreater proportion of sessile oak, birch and rowan with a field layer in which bramble, bracken, honeysuckle, broad buckler-fern and wood sorrel are prominent, although ash remains a component of the canopy throughout. Throughout there are wet basic flushes in which alder, grey willow, meadowsweet, opposite-leaved golden-saxifrage, lady-fern, tufted hair-grass and remote sedge flourish.

Public access is limited to a bridleway at the south-west of the site and a public footpath which extends from the bridleway up the southern slopes to a viewpoint and out to the open hillside. Public access away from these paths is discouraged by the steep and bouldery terrain, leaving the woods relatively undisturbed: ideal for breeding birds such a herons.

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