Nature reserves

Nature reserves

Montgomery and the surrounding area offer a rich setting for observing wildlife. The Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust manages a range of nature reserves, aiming to help people engage with their environment. On this page, we’ve included nature reserves within a 10 mile radius of Montgomery.

Red House: Wetland mosaic
Dolforwyn Woods: A mixed woodland bursting with wildlife
Dolydd Hafren: Floodplain mosaic
Llyn Coed y Dinas: Wildlife service station
Severn Farm Pond: Urban oasis
Roundton Hill: Wildlife-rich hillfort
Mason’s Bank: A regenerating upland heath
Rhos Fiddle: Wet heath – for dragonflies and bog plants
Llanmerewig Glebe: Deadly beauty

Red House: Wetland mosaic

A large wet meadow, a reed swamp, a pool and a wet woodland make up most of this riverside reserve – but why is it so wet? Because the river floods, there is an endless water supply running off the hills and the Montgomery Canal contributes too! The wet areas are what make this reserve important; one particularly significant plant is the weirdly attractive Sweet Flag, found here in abundance. Over 150 varieties of wetland plants have been listed at Red House including Bulrush, bur reed, Canary Grass and Yellow Flag.

Best time to visit
Red House is best enjoyed during the Spring and Summer months. Further information

Dolforwyn Woods: A mixed woodland bursting with wildlife

There has been woodland on this hillside for centuries. Unfortunately much of the native wood was cut down to make way for plantation. Lucky for Dolforwyn, this plantation took the form of a great variety of tree species so that, with the remaining pockets of unplanted ancient woodland, there is still much of interest to wildlife here.

Dolforwyn Woods today is an interesting mixed woodland supporting a range of woodland plants, including good numbers of the uncommon Herb Paris. Declining woodland birds, such as Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler, breed here and a good population of dormice call the place home.
Best time to visit
The wood is filled with flowers and birdsong in the Spring, whilst the autumn lures you with bountiful fungi and spectacular colours! Further information

Dolydd Hafren: Floodplain mosaic

The forces of nature are very obvious at Dolydd Hafren. On one side are the plants and animals trying to keep their roots in the ground and a roof over their head and on the other is the River Severn that, at times, causes complete chaos! Erosion caused by tremendous surges of water after heavy rain means that habitats are frequently destroyed, but on the flip side, this is exactly when new habitats are also created. The great diversity of habitats on this natural floodplain provides for a wealth of wildlife from the rare, inconspicuous Mudwort to the frequently spotted Brown Hare; and if birds are your thing, then Dolydd Hafren is hard to beat!

Best time to visit
With such a diversity of species, there is plenty to see at Dolydd Hafren all year round. Migration season in Spring and Autumn can be the most exciting time; you never know what you might see! Further information

Llyn Coed y Dinas: Wildlife service station

Created from a gravel pit, quarried to provide material for the creation of the Welshpool bypass, Llyn Coed y Dinas is a fantastic home for all sorts of wildlife. Some of these call the reserve home all year round, while others visit at specific times of the year, either to breed and raise their young or to shelter from the winter weather. Some prefer to use the site as a “wildlife service station”, dropping in for a rest and a meal before heading off elsewhere.

Best time to visit
You never know what you might see on a visit to Llyn Coed y Dinas, so it is worth popping in whenever you can. Spring and autumn migration are particularly exciting, with a good chance of something unusual making an appearance. Further information

Severn Farm Pond: Urban oasis

Severn Farm Pond is an urban nature reserve where plants and animals can live in safety, despite the busy industrial estate surrounding them. It’s amazing how many different species have taken to this new home. Meandering boardwalks take you on an amazing journey around the reserve; suspended above pools and marshy wetlands stuffed full of damselflies, dragonflies, frogs, newts and toads.

Best time to visit
In late spring and early summer breeding birds such as Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Little Grebe and Reed Bunting set up home on and around the pond, wetland areas and reedbeds specially created on the reserve. Further information

Roundton Hill: Wildlife-rich hillfort

The steep sides and rounded contours of Roundton Hill reveal its origins as a monumental plug of volcanic rock. From the top of Roundton, it’s easy to see why an Iron Age hillfort was once sited here, benefitting from great views across the surrounding countryside. In later years, miners worked the hill for lead and barites. Today, the geological and industrial landscapes of Roundton Hill have created a variety of habitats in this nature reserve of national importance, where specialist plants have taken hold. Perhaps the most significant of these are the ‘spring ephemerals’ – tiny ground-hugging plants that thrive on areas of thin, dry soil. At one time bats may have played a part in ancient rituals but today they are protected.

Best time to visit
Views from the top of Roundton can be spectacular at any time of year, but to catch the ‘spring ephemerals’ you need to get there early – March/April. Throughout the Spring and Summer, bird song fills the air; also keep your eyes peeled for butterflies, making use of the varied habitats. Further information

Mason’s Bank: A regenerating upland heath

This ancient heath was planted with conifers in the 1960s. This changed the landscape radically but perhaps protected it from agricultural improvement. When the trees were felled at the turn of the century, heather and bilberry returned.
As the heathland regenerates, so its characteristic wildlife is returning. Cotton grass has reappeared in the wetter areas; birds such as wheatear and stonechat breed here again. Grazing is needed to maintain the open habitat and Highland cattle have been brought in to keep it in shape.  Wonderful views can be enjoyed and on a clear winter day golden plover can sometimes be seen along with passing kites and buzzards.

Mason’s Bank is managed by Shropshire Wildlife Trust through an agreement with Natural Resources Wales. Further information

Rhos Fiddle: Wet heath – for dragonflies and bog plants

One of the quietest places in Shropshire, this heathland hilltop has a feeling of ancient wildness – a large surviving fragment that has retained its continuity with the past, in striking contrast to much of its surroundings, now vivid green agricultural pastures. The pools and surrounding wet heath make this a good place for wading birds, particularly curlew and snipe. Dragonflies are plentiful too, including the black darter.

Find sphagnum mosses, cotton grass and bog asphodel in the wet bits; in April through to June look in the drier grassland for yellow mountain pansy, once a characteristic plant of many Shropshire’s hilltops but now scarce. For those unable to walk the tussocky terrain, the big skies and something of the atmosphere of this beautiful place can be appreciated from the edge of the road. Further information

Llanmerewig Glebe: Deadly beauty

Within this small reserve of just one hectare grows a highly poisonous, yet beautiful plant – Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale), also known as Meadow Saffron or ‘Naked Ladies’! For centuries this delicate flower has been systematically eradicated in grazing areas because of its danger to animals, yet is does have healing powers and has been used to treat gout. At Llanmerewig, the Autumn Crocus is thriving under traditional hay management, which makes the most of the land when no parts of the plant are showing. The sheer number of Autumn Crocus on this small site is so remarkable, it is mentioned in Richard Mabey’s ‘Flora Britannica’!

Best time to visit
The flowering of the Autumn Crocus is dependent on the weather, but is in Autumn as the name suggests! Look for it between late August and early October. Further information

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