Wildlife

Gilfach Nature Reserve

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Gilfach Visitor Centre Marteg
Signposted off the A470 about 3 miles north of Rhayader

Visitor centre – phone for opening times and event details: watch for butterflies, otters and leaping salmon, explore habitats rich in rare and fascinating wildlife, guided wildlife walks and talks.

See more here.


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Tel: 01597 823298

Gilfach is a traditional Radnorshire hill farm that has remained unimproved since the 1960's. Radnorshire Wildlife Trust purchased the farm back in 1988 and with fantastic support from volunteers, spent the next few years renovating the longhouse and barn; restoring the ancient field boundaries and developing a management plan that puts wildlife at its heart.

The farm is registered as an organic holding and is entered in the Tir Gofal agri-environment scheme and the Better Woodlands for Wales scheme. A local farmer works in partnership with us to manage the land for conservation, grazing it using traditional breeds like Welsh black cows and local Welsh mountain-cross sheep. Currently there are some black, horned sheep that look more like goats! These are a black Welsh Mountain/Hebridean cross.

The freehold of this 410 acre (166 ha) reserve was purchased in 1988 with very generous donations from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Countryside Commission, World Wide Fund for Nature, Oakdale Trust, W.A. Cadbury Charitable Trust and many other charitable trusts and individuals.

Waun Capel Park Wildlife Walk

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Waun Capel Park Wildlife Walk

A circular walk from car park at the end of the Gasworks Lane off Bridge Street. where there are picnic benches by the river. The walk makes a circuit of Waun Capel Park and the castle mound, a distance of just over one mile / 2 kilometres that takes about an hour to enjoy. Parts of the walk suitable for push chairs are marked on the map.


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Route Name: Waun Capel Wildlife Walk
Length of Route: 1 mile / 2 kilometres
Walking Difficulty: Easy
Start Location: Gasworks Lane, off Bridge Street

Rhayader has a wonderful variety of wild plants and animals living among its buildings, parks and gardens. The fast flowing, boulder strewn River Wye passes right through the town forming a very important natural corridor along which wildlife travels, enriching the town for enjoyment of everyone. 

Wildlife Centre of Wales

family-friendly
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Wales Wildlife Holidays

Rhayader and surrounding areas are important habitats and home to a variety of wildlife, flora and fauna.

With so many differnet places to experience nature as it should be, we've complied a pack of local wildlife sites for you here.

 


Download the map of the sites to help you plan your wildlife adventures.

Elan & Claerwen Valleys

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Craig Goch Elan Valley Dams

To the west of Rhayader is the Elan Valley Estate, owned by Welsh Water and managed by the Elan Valley Trust, the series of reservoirs set in the outstanding scenery of the Elan and Claerwen Valleys have created a home for wildlife and a place to inspire us all.


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Walking: With 72 sqaure miles of Elan Valley Estate, walking routes in this our part of the Cambrian Mountains is spectacular. See a selection of the Elan Valley walks here.

History: In the 19th century, at the time of the Industrial Revolution Joseph Chamberlain, then leader of Birmingham City Council, set about finding a clean water supply for the City.

The Elan and Claerwen Valleys had been identified by the engineer James Mansergh as having the best potential for water storage - with
• An average annual rainfall of 72 inches (1830mm). 
• Narrow downstream valleys which made building the dams easier. 
• Impermeable bedrock preventing the water seeping away. 
• Altitude - the area is mostly higher than Birmingham enabling the water to be transported by gravity alone, without the need to be pumped.

An Act of Parliament was passed for the compulsory purchase of the area and in 1893 the building work began. Over 100 occupants of the Elan Valley had to move, only landowners received compensation payments. Many buildings were demolished, among them 2 manor houses, 18 farms, a school and a church (which was replaced by the corporation as the Nantgwyllt Church).

A railway line was constructed to transport the workers and thousands of tonnes of building material each day and a village of wooden huts was purpose built to house many of the workers on the site of the present Elan Village.
The Elan Valley Dams were officially opened by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra on 21st July 1904, and the later built Claerwen Dam was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1952.

Present Day: The dams and reservoirs of the Elan Estate are situated within an area of outstanding scenic beauty. They provide a lasting amenity in their own right for visitors to enjoy. The protection of the water catchment area to prevent pollution of the reservoirs has safeguarded the habitats of numerous species of flora and fauna and now the 70 square miles of moorland, bog, woodland, river and reservoir are of national importance for their diversity of lower plants (ferns, mosses, lichens and liverworts) and the Estate is the most important area for land birds in Wales.

Distance from town centre: 3

Gigrin Farm Kite Centre

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Gigrin Red Kite Feeding Centre
Gigrin Farm, South Street, Rhayader, Powys, LD6 5BL

We are famous for our Red Kite feeding and 100s of red kites descend on the centre every day. We warmly invite you to enjoy this breathtaking experience which takes place daily. We have hides close to the action, and specialist photographic hides for those with larger lenses. We are a 200 acre family-run working farm, set in the heart of Mid Wales, overlooking both the Wye and Elan valleys.
Everyone is welcome. We cater for families, specialist photographers, film-makers, schools trips and coaches.


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Opening Times: Feeding 2pm (clocks back) & 3pm (clocks forward)
Entry Cost: £5 Adults, £4 OAPs, £3 Children under 13 (extra charges for specialist hides)
Contact: Chris Powell
Tel: 01597 810243

Wild Red Kites are fed at Gigrin Farm every day of the year. With breathtaking feats of aerial piracy red kites compete with buzzards and ravens for choice pickings. Feeding takes place at 2pm (last weekend in October onwards)

Feeding will be at 3pm ( from the last weekend in March.

Well, no-one tells the kites that the clocks change twice a year!

The crows are first to turn up in trees around the feeding area and make it quite a noisy affair with the calls of jackdaws and carrion crows and the deep ‘cronking’ of ravens. Buzzards and red kites circle overhead; buzzards are far more vocal than kites, their powerful ‘mewing’ carrying a long way. As soon as the meat has been put out the crow family start emerging from the surrounding trees. As the first crows land amongst the meat the kites go on the offensive. Kites watch and wait their chance to furl their wings and dive in, skimming the ground to snatch a scrap before rising suddenly to escape the beaks of the angry crows.

Distance from town centre: 1

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