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Leaflet highlights six walks through ancient woodland in Swansea and Gower

With the evenings drawing out and the sun shining a little more, April is one of the best months to discover Swansea's ancient woodland.


A new walker's leaflet and schools activity pack has just been launched by Swansea Council to encourage more people to enjoy and appreciate these historic sites.

Swansea and Gower are comparatively rich in ancient woodland and the handy publication highlights six routes that have been selected to provide a range of walks for those seeking both a relaxed stroll and something more strenuous.

Mark Winder, Swansea Council's Ecologist, said ancient woodland is rich in wildlife, beauty and atmosphere, and is one of our most precious habitats in Wales.

He said the woods are at their most beautiful for a few weeks in early spring when woodland flowers such as bluebells and wild garlic are in bloom.  Soon afterwards the leaf canopy opens, cutting out most of the light to the forest floor.

Mr Winder added: "Any wood known to exist in its present form since 1600 is almost certainly natural in composition, even if it was heavily managed over the centuries for firewood and charcoal-burning.

"The woods' longevity makes them uniquely rich in biodiversity, particularly a range of spring flowers which are slow to colonise new areas of woodland and hence are recognised as indicator species for ancient woodland."

The teacher's woodland activity pack has been distributed to all primary schools on Gower and on the wooded western fringes of the city.  It is packed full of ideas for primary school teachers to get their pupils out into the woods to study trees and woodland plants.

Karen Jones, project officer at the Council's Bishop's Wood Countryside Centre, tried it out for the launch with Year 5 pupils from Bishopston Primary School (pictured).

The leaflet is currently available from community libraries in Swansea and from the Civic Centre, with distribution planned shortly for more venues across Swansea and Gower.

It was created as part of a Heritage Lottery Fund project to record the biodiversity of ancient woodland in the City and County of Swansea, a joint project between the Council's Nature Conservation Team and West Glamorgan Archive Service.

Kim Collis, West Glamorgan County Archivist, said: "The launch of the leaflet was also an opportunity for the Council officers to say thanks to the many project volunteers who gave up so much time to record the biodiversity of our beautiful ancient woodland over the three years of the project."

The six walks are:

1) Cwm Ivy Woods - A 2.2km walk that takes in the Wildlife Trust reserve of Cwm Ivy Woods near Llanmadoc on Gower with fine views over the neighbouring Burry Inlet.

2) Nicholston Woods - A 3.5km secluded walk through varied woodland on south-facing slopes overlooking Oxwich Bay and the sea.

3) Bishopston Valley - A 2km fascinating walk through a hidden valley.

4) Bishop's Wood - A 1km short walk near Caswell through mature ancient ash woods with a fine sea view.

5) Penllergare Valley Woods - A 5.6km walk through a mosaic of ancient woodland, Victorian plantings and modern forestry.

6) Cwm Clydach - A 5km secluded walk following the steep-sided valley of the Lower Clydach Valley.


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