Cwm Clydach Nature Reserve

As it was such a gloriously sunny summer’s day, we decided to make the relatively short drive to the Cwm Clydach nature reserve, which is in the village of Craig Cefn Parc – some 4 miles north of junction 45 of the M4.

One of the first things you notice as you arrive at Cwm Clydach, is that the New Inn pub is conveniently located just across the bridge from the entrance to the reserve – so for those of you looking for some pre/post walk food or liquid refreshment you won’t be disappointed!

Welcome to Cwm Clydach Nature Reserve

The nature reserve is made up of woodland and grassy glades and the lower Clydach river runs through the entire length of the reserve. This therefore makes an ideal habitat for a variety of birds, butterflies and flowers.

The lower Clydach river

Another picture of the lower Clydach river

The reserve also offers two different trails catering for those who want an easy route, called the ‘Nixon’ trail – which is child and pushchair friendly – or the more rugged ‘Trussler’ trail for the more adventurous walkers. The former is approximately 1.5 miles round trip to the car park and back, whilst the latter is around 3 miles there and back.

The trails lead on from each other, so you have the choice to carry on if you wish or simply turn back. Both are well signposted as well – so there’s no chance of getting lost!

Nixon or Trussler trail?

As we’d left the pushchair in the car, we decided to go for gold and do both! With two young children (6 and 2) this took us around 3 hours to do – with numerous stops along the way to look at plants, birds, butterflies and even some fish in the river.

Whilst walking along the initial Nixon trail, it was hard to imagine that until 1962 the reserve was actually a working coal mine and that this particular trail was the tramway that server the collieries. The remains of some of the old colliery buildings were still there for us to see – despite being covered in moss and ivy in many cases.

Old colliery building

Old colliery steel girder structure

Here are some more of the better pictures I took whilst we were walking along the trails…

A foxglove

There were an abundance of foxglove’s to be found throughout the reserve, which added some dazzle to the predominately green colours on display. There were also buttercups and bluebells aplenty for the flower lovers amongst you.

On the return leg of our walk, we we fortunate enough to spot a Grey Wagtail hopping between some rocks – looking for food I suspect – on the river.

A grey wagtail

We also spotted and heard the loud ‘calling’ of a young buzzard whom was being what I can only describe as harassed by some ravens. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t quick enough with my camera to capture it.

Despite spotting several different coloured butterflies – including a bright yellow one – I was only able to catch 2 on camera. I think that the following are pictures of a Great Spangled Fritillary and a Silver Washed Fritillary – but I stand to be corrected.

A Great Spangled Fritillary

A Silver Washed Fritillary

The reserve will offer a completely different persona and resident depending on the season of your visit, but no matter what time of year there is plenty of natures beauty on offer to entice people of all ages.

So if you’re looking for something relaxing to do this summer and enjoying nature or walking, then I think you should make a visit to Cwm Clydach – I doubt you’ll be disappointed.