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West Wales nature reserve opens new wildlife trail

A new nature trail at a Tregaron nature reserve and glamping site was formally opened today by the founder of Lampeter Permaculture Group. Angie Polkey, a leading figure in nature-friendly land management, cut the ribbon at Orchid Meadows to cheers from local small-holding owners and conservation volunteers.

The trail takes visitors around flower-rich meadows, a newly planted wood, sphagnum moss wetland and a wildlife pond, following a series of wooden benches where people are encouraged to relax, take in the surroundings and see what they can spot around them. The trail starts in the reserve’s Evening Meadow, which is rich in orchids. Last summer over 1300 flowering heads of heath spotted orchid were counted in this and a neighbouring field, together with uncommon lesser butterfly orchids and whorled caraway, the county flower of Carmarthenshire but rare outside that county’s borders. Three of the benches lie within an area of new woodland, planted with trees native to the area, including alder, downy birch, aspen, western oak and hazel. One of these is at Bluebell Corner, aptly named because the ground turns rich blue in June.

The trail also crosses wetland, named Cors Caron Fach in a nod to the nearby National Nature Reserve managed by Natural Resources Wales. Here there are unusual plants that are also found in Cors Caron NNR, including bogbean, marsh marigold and marsh cinquefoil. Animal wildlife to get a mention on the trail include red kite, tawny owl, polecat, stonechat, badger, fox, dragonflies and damselflies, and the rare marsh fritillary butterfly.

Site owner Stephen Hounsham said: “There is an abundance of nature interest here at Orchid Meadows and our new trail will help people to experience it. At a time when biodiversity is facing such a squeeze, it is right that people with sites as special as ours share them with others, in our case our glamping guests.”

Orchid Meadows glamping site in Ceredigion offers three accommodation units: Tawny Cottage, Red Kite Yurt and Goldfinch Glampavan. Tawny Cottage is open for the new season now, while the yurt and the glampavan open in May. Many guests who come to Orchid Meadows choose the site primarily so they can explore nature and relax in beautiful surroundings.

For further information, visit www.orchidmeadows.co.uk or call Stephen Hounsham on 01974 209220. The picture shows Angie Polkey cutting the ribbon, watched by members of Lampeter Permaculture Group and conservation volunteers. Please credit it to Orchid Meadows.

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