Photo by Penny Hurt
Our new reserve in the wilds between Llanbister and Beacon Hill now has a car park, a circular trail and bridges put in by our Tuesday Volunteer Group, so is ready for visitors!
Tylcau Hill is a rare and precious find - nearly 70 acres of diverse flower-rich farmland that has been spared from intensive improvements. Radnorshire Wildlife Trust managed to buy the reserve in late 2008 with grateful support from our Margaret Brand legacy, Wildlife Trust members, other well-wishes and the CCW (Countryside Council for Wales).
In 2009, a series of informal survey events took place on the reserve, led by local experts with support from volunteers, to gather some information on the species found at Tylcau Hill. It showed the beginnings of a remarkable assemblage which showed that we were correct in recognising this land as a treasure worth protecting.
Carpets of mountain pansies bloom on the higher slopes, while in the wooded dingles are clumps of oak fern. Wet flushes have humps of cushion moss, hollows full of sphagnum and butterwort, with marsh arrowgrass and quaking grass dotted about. Elsewhere are patches of devil's-bit scabious, the food plant for the marsh fritillary butterfly. On the steep grassy slopes are swathes of eyebright, wild thyme and bird's foot trefoil, and below the gorse-clad cwm, adders tongue fern and ladies mantle were spotted in a damp flush.
Both male and female cuckoo have thrilled visitors, two springs running, calling from a tree or on the wires. Other birds - frequent in mid-Wales, include redstarts, linnets and pied flycatchers. Butterflies spotted include the small pearl bordered fritillary, green hairstreak, and the brightly coloured scarlet tiger moth.
The little stream seems very clean with lots of invertebrate activity. Bullheads loiter under stones and otter spraints have been seen on several occasions. Common lizards, frogs and toads have also been spotted on the reserve.
Why not stretch your legs on this lovely 5.5 mile walk taking in Gors Lydan Barrow and medieval huts. You could start it at the Tylcau Hill car park and have a wander around the reserve too. Download the pdf of the walk description here: Gors Lydan - Tylcau Hill Walk.
Tylcau Hill nature reserve is in a rural location, a few miles north-east of Llanbister. It is wise to locate the site on a map before you leave home - look for Newhouse Hill and Tylcau Hill (not Tylcau farm) between Llanbister and Felindre as the crow flies. The land has been split from the orignal farmhouse so the reserve is named after the local hill.
Take the Llanbister to Llangunllo road (B4356). If coming from Llanbister, drive over the common and take the left hand turning signedposted Llanbadarn Fynydd at the Pound, on the edge of the common (the next turning would be the Felindre road). Turn right at the red telephone box, round the cattle grid and drive to the end of the tarmac road, where you will see the car park on the right.
If coming from Llangunllo, take the next turning right after the Felindre roads, by the stream on the edge of the common (area known as the Pound). Follow the road until you get to the telephone box. Turn right round the cattle grid and drive to the end of the tarmac lane where you will see the car park on the right.
Alternatively you might like to walk there over from Beacon Hill, as the Tuesday Volunteer Group did on their first visit!
NGR SO 133 764