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Cwm Byddog

A wooded valley with very ancient trees and the remains of a motte and bailey castle.

Ancient trees of this age are one of the rarest habitats in Europe and the UK has a large proportion. They support a range of rare and declining species of epiphytes (plants, including mosses and lichens, which grow on other plants). Over 100 species have been identified on the reserve. In spring the reserve is a carpet of wild flowers. Bluebells dominate large areas. Yellow archangel, cuckoo pint, and moschatel are frequent throughout the wood with wood anemone, sanicle and ramsons scattered throughout. Alongside the stream there are a few patches of alternate-leaved golden saxifrage. Early purple orchids occur in several places and Tenby daffodils have become naturalised here. The scrub on the motte is an important habitat for birds, including yellowhammer, blackcap and garden warbler in summer. In the woodland many species typical of oak woods nest , including nuthatch, great-spotted woodpecker and pied flycatcher. Buzzards commonly roost in the woodland. Small mammals on the reserve include Yellow-necked mouse, wood mouse, bank vole, common shrew and the seldom observed, and nationally rare, hazel dormouse. Insects include speckled wood butterflies along the rides, common blue within sunny glades and the scarce cloaked carpet moth.


Recent management work

During recent winters, we have felled trees growing around our most important veteran trees (a process known as haloing). As a result, both the veterans and the wealth of other organisms they support will have the best chance of surviving and thriving for years to come. We have carried out the same process around some of our younger trees – the veteran trees of the future – and will continue to do so over coming winters.

A proportion of the felled material is left where it falls to provide dormouse habitat, to minimise disturbance to dormouse nests and to allow nutrients from the decaying wood to be recycled into the soil and replenish the veteran trees. 

Nearby nature reserves

Clifford Common
2 miles - Herefordshire Wildlife Trust
Glasbury Cutting
4 miles - The Wildlife Trust for South and West Wales
Brilley Green Dingle
4 miles - Herefordshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

0.5 miles north of Clyro on the Newchurch Road
Hay on Wye
Map reference
SO 216 448
Great for...
ancient trees
lichens and mosses
spring flowers
Best time to visit
Apr - May
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Opening Times
Open at all times
4.10 hectares
A short waymarked trail. Contact the Trust for disabled access information
Walking information
A short waymarked trail
Park at the entrance gate, avoiding obstruction to the track.
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Radnorshire Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01597 823298


Factsheets and guides for your visit