An Important Habitat
Cwm Idwal was Wales’ first designated National Nature Reserve. It’s regarded as a highly important site in Snowdonia because of the vegetation and rare plants that flourish here. In the 60s and 70s of the last century, sheep were kept out of large parts of Cwm Idwal to prevent grazing. As a result, nowadays, various plants and species grow here that don’t exist in the grasslands surrounding the valley.
Grazing is a threat to these plants, and the National Trust took a dramatic step in preventing sheep from accessing the conservation area in order to preserve vegetation and plants. This venture, in co-operation with the Snowdonia National Park Authority, reflected the importance of the site and the need to prevent grazing by farmed animals.
Keeping sheep away from the National Nature Reserve enables the plants of the cliffs to spread across nearby rocks and for the moorlands to flourish. Although this is a necessary step to encourage the growth of these plants, it can also mean the grasslands that sheep usually graze are less frequented by other species such as the chough that feed on the insects usually found in such terrain. On the other hand, similar habitats are protected in various areas across Snowdonia in order to protect the various and special wildlife that live here.
Cwm Idwal (© SNPA)