Gardd Fotaneg Genedlaethol CymruNational Botanic Garden of WalesNational Botanic Garden of Wales

Waun Las National Nature Reserve

* Important works information below *

A beautiful mosaic of wildflower-rich hay meadows and pastures

Waun Las National Nature Reserve lies adjacent to the north and east side of the formal Garden area.

Here you may come across a range of wild plants, fungi and wildlife that have disappeared from much of our countryside.

This is because we manage our land to encourage biodiversity whilst also running a commercially viable farm.

Occupying over 150 hectares of Carmarthenshire countryside, it has been managed as an organic farm since the late 1990s. It contains a wide range of valuable habitats including rhos pasture, wet woodland and lowland meadows – priorities for conservation in the UK and the rest of Europe. It’s also a landscape of hidden secrets – the  NNR is sited on the late 18th century Middleton Estate, which itself was built over the remains of a 17th century estate.

In 2014 the Garden entered a 5 year agreement with Coleg Sir Gar to help us manage Waun Las. Around the same time, the farm operation entered into a Glastir sustainable land management agreement with the Welsh Government.

How do you get Waun Las National Nature Reserve?

Access is via the Garden’s main Gatehouse entrance. It’s about a 10 minute walk, alongside our restored lakes, to the start of the NNR.

We’ve created a network of paths across the whole reserve. You’ll need stout footwear as it can get quite muddy and uneven in places – this also means that wheelchair access is restricted to the flat path section between numbers 1 and 2 on the map below. Sorry but we don’t allow dogs unless they are for guiding.

Along the paths, you’ll come across interpretation signs that tell you about how we farm and manage woodland to encourage biodiversity.

A one hour round walk to the beautiful wooded valley called Pont Felin Gât, situated on the northern boundary of Waun Las NNR,offers the chance to see an array of ancient woodland, wild flowers in the spring and evocative remains of the Regency Water Park, including a fast flowing waterfall.

Orange Route Temporarily Closed

WHAT’S GOING ON?

As the first step in the Regency Restoration project, we will be starting to fell trees, divided into phases, over the next three years. All the trees to be felled have been checked by specialists for roosting bats and nesting birds; ground vegetation has been ‘fingertip’ searched for dormice; and unusual lichens have been transferred to carefully matched foster trees.

While we are always sad to lose trees:

  • thinning is needed to give the better, longer-lived trees space to grow to maturity, and to improve light for woodland ground flora
  • we are not allowed to retain trees at risk of being blown over on lake embankments, due to the risk of damaging the dams
  • we need to clear trees from the lake beds to enable restoration of the lakes – Llyn Mawr was last drained due to leaks in 2001. The first step is to get boreholes drilled to test the clay in the dams
  • to compensate for the losses, extensive new native woodland has already been planted, and more clumps and parkland trees are planned
  • all the wood will be processed into furniture, or sawn timber, used to heat the glasshouses, or converted into charcoal by our volunteers

Please follow the safety directions of the contractor’s staff and signs during these works.

For further information see www.botanicgarden.wales/regency-restoration or contact the Gatehouse team on 01558 667149.