Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Rob Parry: Parc Slip Nature Reserve

Last night, Rob Parry, Conservation Manager of The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, talked to the Cardiff Naturalists’ Society about Parc Slip, one of around 100 nature reserves that the Trust manages. The 200 ha Parc Slip site (Tondu, near Bridgend) was once an open cast mine, with restoration starting in the 1980s. The large hole was filled and covered with topsoil. This afforded the opportunity to create habitats. Today, the site is a rich mosaic of wetlands, wet meadows, mixed woodland and other habitat types, alongside traditionally managed agricultural fields.  The past few years have seen a new visitor centre and an elevated hide (The Mary Gillham Hide) constructed, and a field scraped to create 14 large open water areas with smaller ponds. Natural Resources Wales provided funding for this latest phase of habitat creation, with the most recent work being to create a shingle bank for wading birds. Students are studying the recolonisation of the scraped field area.

Parc Slip is a noted reserve for amphibians and reptiles, included great crested newt, adder and grass snakes. Rob explained how the newts and grass snakes are individually identified by digital photography. You can join rangers on weekly reptile rambles, during which reptiles are monitored; which is part of the reserve’s extensive education programme.  

Part of the agricultural land is managed for lapwing, which includes rush cutting and grazing by highland cattle. Snipe, teal and little ringed plover are among the other birds of note to be seen here. The reserve is also important for rare damselfly species, orchids (e.g. bee orchid) and a range of wetland meadow and field boundary plant species, and harvest mice.

Rob concluded his talk with a brief look at developments on other Trust reserves in the area, including Taf Fechan near Merthyr Tydfil. He was thanked by Rob Nottage for the insightful talk on how the nature reserve is managed and for all the hard work he has put into making Parc Slip such a biodiverse and successful nature reserve.

For further information on The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, Parc Slip Nature Reserve, and the Trust’s other reserves, visit:

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