Yesterday I went to the celebration at a community woodland just outside of Llandovery of the excellent work delivered by volunteers being lead, organised and trained by Tircoed on this Wildlife Trust South & West Wales site. This ancient woodland site is even more of a community wood than is usual as it was left to the town of Llandovery by Vicar Pritchard in the 16th Century so the towns folk could, on foot only, gather dead wood for fuel, being no more than they could carry on their backs. And so, for more than 500 years, this has been the communities’ woodland. Since 1983 the 17 hectares has been managed by the Wildlife Trust as a nature reserve.
The woodland is ancient but the trees in the woods are all of one generation and it is likely that they were felled in the war to provide pit props. Part of the management is to fell some small coops to allow a more diverse age range of trees to develop. They are also removing beech trees, which are not considered native this far inland, to create a more natural Welsh oak woodland. In addition to the oaks there are other species including a couple of wild service trees, a sure sign of ancient woodland.
The young people who have been involved in the 2 year project, 14 in total this year, are rightly very proud of their handiwork. The kissing gate, we heard that in Welsh they are called gat mochyn or pig gate which is not quite so romantic, was created out of wood from the site and they also improved access putting little bridges over some wet rills and scattering benches around the site.
The event was well attended with a good contingent coming from the local Coleg Elydir, a residential school for those with learning disabilities, and was the perfect chance to award two of the volunteers with the OCNs they had gained while they participated.
This woodland continues to be a marvellous asset for people from Llandovery who want a peaceful and beautiful walk and, once the council sorts the very muddy access route as they plan to do, I am sure the new signs will make it a regular place for a country stroll particularly for people from the nearby caravan site.