After the last Ice Age, most of Wales was covered by forests – not an unbroken blanket of trees, but a complex, varied landscape with lakes, fens and open mountain summits. Over millennia, people have cleared Wales's forest for other land uses, creating a mostly open landscape, with little native forest cover. The Forest of Dreams is striving to create a unique reserve to let flourish the woodland and the other rare habitats that can be found there.
The 200 acre (on map) reserve is located within a beautiful valley starting from a
spectacular 40 meter waterfall (see right) at the head of the valley and following the river through a deep sided gorge ( carved by the action and aftermath of the last Ice Age) emerging out into flowering meadows and wetland. The land includes a mixture of wild wooded gorges, sheltered meadows, heather and bilberry moor, ancient woodland, spectacular rockface and scree slopes, silven nooks, high waterfalls, rockpools and streams. Two rivers flow through the land with some spectacular and breathtaking waterfalls.
Highlights are the creeping harebell and the wonderful setting of ancient woodland, wetland, rare lichens and tree fungi, and heather on steep slopes. Oak, ash and alder are just a few of the tree species that can be found here. According to Ray Woods (a premier botanist in Wales) "Ancient trees are now rare in Wales and this site supports a number of large trees beginning to develop the wildlife rich characteristics of veteran trees. In particular this site supports some of the largest and oldest birch trees, on three of which was found a lichen scarce in Wales."
The land is also home to Red Kite, Buzzard, Pereguine Falcon, Owl, Badger, and many other small mammals, birds and a myriad of insects. Signs that the Merlin, the rarest and smallest of the falcons, frequents the valley have also been found.
A list of the fauna and flora present in the valley can be viewed here (please note that this is work in progress and is not definitive.)
We hope that visitors to the valley and all who love the natural world , will welcome our attempt in letting this beautiful valley be a wild place.
Our hope is that in time the valley will flower into a rich haven.
The land already had very established wooded areas, but there were lots of open hard grazed meadows and in some places barren hillside. The sheep were very good at preventing new growth! It will take many years for new trees, woodland and wildlife to mature and establish but since securing the first parcel of land, signs of new life and a return to the wild have already been seen. The sheep which once grazed the meadows and hillsides were relocated soon after the initial purchase, which has helped new growth. This became very apparent in 2011, when the meadows burst into golden carpets of buttercups in the spring time, a sight never seen when sheep were grazing. Since then, as each year passes, more and more new plants, trees and wildlife are being found all over the land.
An Update on Progress - May 2014
The valley is continuing to return to its original face, with more and more wild flowers creeping back into the valley:
New saplings are naturally setting and bursting through and victoriously growing stronger and taller as each year passes.
New growth is now being seen on the once barren hillsides.
Once solitary trees are now being surrounded by little saplings, which have naturally set. The Scots Pine which once stood alone now has over a dozen companions (see photo to the right taken in May 2013)
The charity and it's supporters are overjoyed with the progress being seen.
The Forest of Dreams >