In 2023 INCC took on management of a large area of land owned by Brecon Carreg, the mineral water company. It is an amazing site overlooking Carreg Cennen Castle and has huge potential.

Covering 65ha, the land around Brecon Carreg’s factory near Trapp is a wonderful mix of meadows, woodland, marshy grassland, upland acid grassland and of course the River Loughor. Known as Llygad Llwchwr, the river emerges from underground caves and flows through the reserve and eventually meets the sea near Llanelli.

Above: the river running through the nature reserve

Left: inside the source of the River Loughor (photo (c) Mark Burkey)

INCC’s initial work was to walk the site (no easy task!) and map the habitats present, thinking how the diversity could be improved through the introduction of sympathetic management.

A Phase 1 habitat map of the site showing its amazing diversity
One of the hay meadows on site

We also started doing some baseline ecological surveys, revealing the wonderful wildlife already present including Otters, Badgers, Cuckoos, Ravens, and dragonflies and damselflies. These surveys will continue over coming years to assess how well the habitat management techniques are working. In addition to surveys we have also installed a number of Dormouse boxes, as well as a Barn Owl box.

Volunteers installing dormouse boxes

Above: Badgers and Otters are just two of the species we have seen on cameras at the site so far

With the help of a local arborist we have put up a number of bat boxes and bird boxes. We will monitor these in coming years. Some of the woodland looks ideal for Pied Flycatchers.

Some of the marshy grassland on site needs managing to improve its potential for wildlife. Currently it isn’t managed at all so the grasses are becoming overgrown and rank, limiting the diversity of flowering plants. It is potentially an important site for Marsh Fritillaries and could act as a stepping stone to link the populations around Trapp with those in the Amman Valley. We have been working with local fencers and graziers to pave the way for the introduction of some hardy cattle onto the site. Cattle are one of the best habitat managers you can find, and they will ensure that the grassland is opened up which will improve the site’s biodiversity.

In 2024 we will be running some guided walks on site to show people just how wonderful the site is and to demonstrate the effectiveness of the various management techniques that are being undertaken. Thanks to Brecon Carreg for their enthusiasm for the project and willingness to go ahead with converting it into a wonderful nature reserve.