Anglesey’s Wetland Wilderness

February 26, 2016
Tim Coysh

The UK’s second largest expanse of fens can be found in Wales and includes four National Nature Reserves (NNRs). Cors Erddreiniog on Anglesey is the largest of the three on Anglesey, which also has Cors Bodeilio and Cors Goch; the fourth is Cors Geirch, which is on the Lleyn Peninsula.

It is the alkaline water draining into these rare type of wetlands in Wales that creates the conditions that support the unusual combination of plants that are found there.

A walk in any of these nature reserves in spring and early summer when they are full of flowers and buzzing with insect and bird life quickly shows why this habitat is of such international importance that it deserves to be protected by both national and international conservation designations.

All three Anglesey Fens nature reserves are open all year round and all have areas of boardwalk. The tracks are rough in places though, and not suitable for wheelchair users. Other paths in the reserves are for the most part reasonably level but the woodland sections are steep in parts. The paths are frequently muddy in the winter and so appropriate footwear is necessary.

Cors Erddreiniog, the largest of the Anglesey fens, lies between Bryn Teg and Capel Coch in eastern Anglesey, is a wetland that is now extremely rare in the UK and Europe having a varied terrain which includes small lakes, heathland, woodland, an extensive areas of reed bed and areas of grassland with plants such as ragged robin, yellow rattle and spotted orchids. A boardwalk, running around the reed beds for around 1,000 metres, leads to a bird hide overlooking one of the freshwater lakes.

Cors Goch National Nature Reserve, near Llanbedrgog on Anglesey is famous for its acidic heathland and calcareous fenland, which support rare plants, numerous birds, insects and a variety of reptiles and amphibians, and rare creatures like the medicinal leach! Fifteen species of dragonflies, including the Common Hawker (Aeshna juncea), can be seen at Cors Goch, and amongst the flowers, there are many butterflies, both the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene) and the Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) are present at the reserves.

Cors Bodeilio is a nationally important nature reserve due to its unique mire, which lies in a shallow limestone valley between Llangefni and Pentraeth.

These three equally important nature reserves are designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and they protect and support some very rare wildlife species including rare plants, birds and insects. The expanses of water in the fen nature reserves are home to many birds in the winter and also provide breeding habitats for a number of species in the spring and summer.

barn owl in mid flight

Spring and summer are when the fens come to life, reverberating with bird song and the buzzing of insects. Breeding birds on these sites include Grasshopper Warblers (Locustella naevia), Reed Buntings (Emberiza schoeniclus), Sedge Warblers (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus), Kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) Lesser Whitethroats (Sylvia curruca) and Stonechats (Saxicola torguata). In the quiet evenings, Barn Owls (Tyto alba) silently hunt across this magical landscape for the many small mammals that make their homes in the Anglesey Fens. The reserves are one of the few places where Lapwings (Vanellus vanellus) can be seen and where they also breed. Many of the bird species to be found in our nature reserves are seriously threatened and so, if you do visit in the spring and summer, please take great care not to disturb them.

Chapel Bank (Sleeps 7), a newly renovated 3-bedroom house situated within walking distance (1 mile), of Red Wharf Bay. On the other hand, why not stay in one of our luxury apartments at Benllech. Llys Rhostrefor Apt 3 (sleeps 6) and Llys Rhostrefor Apt 7 (sleeps 4), both apartments have stylish interior and provide good quality accommodation – ideal for breaks at any time of the year with lots to see and do around the area. Book anytime between now and May for a great bargain with Coastal Holidays.

Anglesey has beautiful beaches, stunning coastal walks, attractive cuisine and a long and colourful history. It is a great place for dogs and humans to unwind. Go to www.coastalholidays.net to view our extensive range of self-catering cottages, apartments and country houses, many of which are pet friendly. You can email us at [email protected] or telephone us on 01248 430190.

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