Tag Archives: nature reserve

Sixty years of being a National Nature Reserve

This year is the 60th anniversary of Newborough Warren’s designation as a National Nature Reserve.

It might seem a bit obvious, but, obviously it’s a warren because of the rabbits. There are lots of stories about why the rabbits are here. And the rabbits’ relationship with the managers of the warren hasn’t always been a happy one, but they are an intrinsic part of the landscape now.

Newborough Warren with the mountains of the Llyn Peninsula in the background

Newborough Warren with the mountains of the Llyn Peninsula in the background

So here’s to the warren – pen-blwydd hapus. And to the rabbits, blissfully unaware of the birthday celebrations going on around them. And here’s an old photo (the one I began this blog with some time ago now) of how things used to look when the trees of Newborough Forest were still tiny.

The view to Llanddwyn before the forest grew

The view to Llanddwyn before the forest grew

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Malltraeth Cob

Malltraeth is the next village along from Newborough to the north. The two villages are linked by a “cob” – a dike wall – with a footpath/cycle track along its top.

Malltreath cob - the pools on the left and the sea on the right

Malltreath cob – the pools on the left and the sea on the right and very faintly in the background, the mountains

The cob was completed in the early 19th Century, under the direction of Thomas Telford and John Rennie. At the same time, the Afon Cefni was straightened (and straitened) creating what looks like a canal, but is still tidal. This created nearly 1,600ha of grazing land on either side of the Cefni. Much of this land is now a nature reserve managed by the RSPB.

The Afon Cefni at high water

The Afon Cefni at high water

From the cob there are beautiful views in all directions. On the inland side, lie a series of pools, known as the Cob Pools, with the vast Malltraeth Marsh / Cors Ddyga beyond. To the seaward side are the Malltraeth Sands with Malltraeth Bay beyond. The whole area is a haven for wildlife, particularly birds.

One of the benches looking out over the Cob Pools, across the marshes to the mountains beyond

One of the benches looking out over the Cob Pools, across the marshes to the mountains beyond

At the Malltraeth end of the cob, there are several benches and a small picnic area (and a chip shop in the village). There are also information boards explaining the history of the cob and the geology of the area, as well as a visual guide to help you identify the mountain peaks that form the horizon to the south.

Malltraeth parking area looking out towards the bay

Malltraeth parking area looking out towards the bay

At the Newborough end of the cob, there is another small car parking area, with picnic benches, known as the Malltraeth car park.

The path on the cob is completely flat. From one end to the other it is about a mile long.

Lots more information about the cob, Malltraeth and the history of the area can be found on the Malltraeth village website: www.malltraeth.com

One of the information boards at Malltraeth

One of the information boards at Malltraeth

Managed by ponies (and cows, sheep and rabbits)

Newborough Forest is bounded by National Nature Reserves on three sides. Ponies are used to “manage” the grass, herbs and scrub in the Nature Reserves, along with cattle, sheep and the wild rabbits that give Newborough Warren its name.

Here are some of the team:

Newborough Warren pony - grey

Newborough Warren pony – grey

Newborough Warren pony - chestnut

Newborough Warren pony – chestnut

Newborough Warren cow

Newborough Warren cow

The ponies are more or less wild – they’re unbroken, and infrequently handled, but some of them are quite friendly: like the two above who were desperate to get their portraits taken!