Apparently when the Forestry Commission first planted at Newborough, they indulged themselves by planting a diverse range of non-commercial species as well as the main conifer plantation. Amongst the various species planted were yuccas. Around the fringes of the forest, you still find the occasional yucca growing: whether they originate from those first plantings or are later arrivals, I don’t know.
This year is so good for the cherries they are managing to ripen fully on the trees before the birds get round to eating them.
In parts of the forest, the tracks are littered with fallen fruits.
And there are still lots more to come.
Some of the “wild” apple trees are bearing lots of fruit too.
Closer to the seaward edge on the western side of the forest, things are looking very dry and scorched.
The westerly edge of Newborough Forest is the least visited, because it is the furthest from anywhere. From any of the car parks, or the village, it is about (or at least) a 2.5 mile walk. If you like nature and open views, it’s worth it.
That seems like a silly title – of course a forest has many trees, but what I meant in particular is that Newborough Forest contains many different kinds of trees. It isn’t “just a pine forest”, although it certainly has lots of pines. It also has a diverse range of other species of trees too, including a wide range of broadleaves. Eagle eyed tree spotters can look out for:
Corsican pine – Pinus nigra ssp laricio. This is the tree most often planted and represented over 90% of the canopy in 2010 – management operations mean that percent is now somewhat lower.
Other pines to look out for (including some relatively unusual ones) are:
Maritime pine – Pinus pinaster
Macedonian pine – Pinus peuce
Lodgepole pine – Pinus contorta
Weymouth pine – Pinus strobus
Monterey pine – Pinus radiata
Bishop pine – Pinus muricata
Virginia pine – Pinus virginiana
Japanese red pine – Pinus densiflora
Jeffrey pine – Pinus jeffreyi
Scots pine – Pinus sylvestris
Stone pine – Pinus pinea
And, it isn’t just pines. Other conifers include:
Sitka spruce – Picea sitchensis
Norway spruce – Picea abies
Caucasian fir – Abies nordmanniana
Grand fir – Abies grandis
Noble fir – Abies procera
Monterey cypress – Cupressus macrocarpa
Western hemlock – Tsuga heterophylla
Western red cedar – Thuja plicata
Japanese red cedar – Cryptomeria japonica
Japanese larch – Larix kaempferi
Yew – Taxus baccata
And, there are also lots of broadleaves, more in some areas than others. They include:
Cherry – Prunus avium
Birch – Betula spp
Holly – Ilex aquifolium
Hawthorn – Crataegus monogyna
Sycamore – Acer pseudoplatanus
Rowan – Sorbus aucuparia
Ash – Fraxinus excelsior
Walnut – Juglans regia
Oak – Quercus petraea
Holm oak – Quercus ilex
Hazel – Corylus avellana
Apple – Malus
Crab apple – Malus sylvestris
Poplar (balsam) – Populus X
Elder – Sambucus nigra
Tamarisk – Tamarix
Willow – Salix
Alder – Alnus glutinosa
Elm – Ulmus
Spindle tree – Euonymus europaeus
Horse chestnut – Aesculus hippocastum
Sweet chestnut – Castanea sativa
Himalayan cotoneaster – Cotoneaster simonsii (one of the targets for eradication by the Forestry Commission as they consider it too invasive)
And that is by no means an exhaustive list. Happy tree spotting!
Newborough Forest tree spotting checklist (this is a pdf listing of most of the trees in the forest, that you can download and print. 283KB)
It doesn’t happen very often. And when it does, it doesn’t last for long. But when the snow comes down to the sea, Newborough Beach and Forest, and Llanddwyn Island become especially magical.
Each summer, usually around midsummer’s day, thousands of froglets emerge from the pools and lakes around Newborough. In a good year (for the frogs), walking becomes more like dancing as you try to make your way without stepping on a little froglet.
The froglets are so small, a lot of people don’t even notice what is under their feet, you can imagine the consequences…
Newborough is famous (at least locally) for its red squirrels. It isn’t too unusual to see them when walking in the forest. Usually you will actually hear them before you see them: hear their sharp little nails scratching on the tree bark as they scamper away. If you scratch your own nails against the bark, you’ll get an idea of the sound to listen out for.
However, it is unusual for me to either have a camera with me and / or to be able to capture a half-decent photograph of one of our red squirrels. Here’s one of a baby who was too scared to move away. The other is a bit of a cheat as it shows a squirrel in one of the compounds in the forest.
(nb that compound is no longer here – it’s quite an old photograph)
If you are visiting and want a good chance of seeing one of the squirrels, the Llyn Parc Mawr car park and picnic area is worth a try (OS GR SH414669). The squirrels (and birds) are fed there and have become quite confident. It’s best to go early as they make themselves scarce if the car park becomes busy. The Forestry Commission’s information sheet is available here (pdf) which shows the car parks and forest trails etc.