Visitors and residents could be forgiven for walking by, unaware that the unassuming entrance quickly leads into an area rich in biodiversity.
The steep-sided wooded valley located in the Melincryddan area of Neath, declared a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) in 2008, is a mix of ancient semi-natural woodland habitats dissected by the Crythan brook.
The 11 hectare site is protected in recognition of its importance for biodiversity and to the local community. Biodiversity Biodiversity interest on the site consists of an attractive flora and fauna. The damp shaded environment creates ideal conditions for several fern species. Bilberry and native Bluebells are found throughout the site, the latter being an indicator of ancient woodland. Bats and birds also depend on the combination of habitats found at Eaglesbush Valley, which provide nesting and foraging opportunities for several species.
Look out for:
Several different species of bat occupy the site; brown longeared, daubenton’s, and common and soprano pipistrelles. You are most likely to see these at dusk in the spring and summer months when they will be foraging for small insects. Bat boxes have been placed in a number of locations throughout the woodland to provide artificial roost sites.
The woodland is predominantly sessile oak, thought to be planted in the last century. These oaks can grow up to 40m tall, over 3m in diameter and often reach ages up to 300 years! A habitat of its own, the oak can support enormous communities of plants, insects, birds, reptiles and mammals. Birds The Valley is home to many different bird species including several of conservation concern.
The area of open woodland at the north-eastern side of the site is ideal for pied flycatchers; open fronted nest boxes have been provided with hope that the species will breed on site. Grey wagtail and dipper are frequently seen along the brook, the latter is named because it often perches and bobs rhythmically on rocks and boulders near rivers.
Native bluebells are considered to be a species of conservation concern due to the introduction of the Spanish bluebell, which is a popular cultivated plant in Britain. These closely related species often hybridise, decreasing populations of native bluebells.
The main entrance to Eaglesbush Valley is along Foundry Road on your left. Limited parking is available along Foundry Road or Old Road.
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