Day Trips from Clwyd
The following list of Birdwatching Venues are all prime locations,
selected because they are well within the range of a day trip from
anywhere in Clwyd. Only Map References, nearest towns and main roads
are given, further information is available at local Tourist
O.S. Map Reference SJ0219
Lake Vyrnwy is well signposted on the B4393 near Abertridwr. There is a Visitors Centre and
Picnic Area. Habitats here are varied, with high heath and moorland above mixed woodlands
through which the River Vyrnwy flows. The lake covers about 7sq.Km and has a bird hide at the
western end. It is worth visiting any time of year but late spring/ early summer when summer
migrants arrive is probably most productive. Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Wood and Garden Warbler
nest here as do Common Sandpiper on the river. Raptors include Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel
and Peregrine, with Goshawk being recorded in recent years.
O.S. Map Reference SJ5571
Delemere Forest in Cheshire is the remains of an ancient swathe of woodland which once covered
covered the Cheshire Ridge. It is now owned and run by the Forestry Commision as a working
forest. It comprises a mixture of deciduous and coniferous woodland, the ages of which vary
from old mature forest to new plantings. A broad range of resident and migrant woodland birds
can be seen here including Crossbill in most years. From Delamere take the B5152 towards
Frodsham. The forest Visitors Centre and Picnic site are well signposted.
The Isle of Anglesey is an
absolute mecca for birdwatchers and lovers of wildlife and unspoiled countryside. As such, it
deserves a page of it's own and this is something that the author may undertake at a later date.
The following list of prime sites, is intended to provide the reader with a few ideas for a
visit to the island:
- South Stack RSPB Reserve SH2183 Sea Cliff/Marine Heath Nesting Auks May/June Seawatching anytime.
- Point Lynas Lighthouse SH4794 Sea Cliff/Marine Heath Seawatching Autumn Gales
- Llyn Alaw SH4186 Freshwater Lake Waders,Duck, Geese and Swan Autumn through Spring
- Llyn Cefni SH4577 Freshwater Lake Waders,Duck, Geese and Swan Autumn through Spring
- Traeth Dulas SH4888 Enclosed Coastal Inlet Ducks, Waders Autumn through Spring
- Red Wharf Bay SH5580 Sandy Bay Ducks, Waders Autumn through Spring
- Malltraeth SH4268 Pool/River/Estuary Excellent for Waders, Ducks, Geese Autumn through Spring
- Newborough Warren/Forest SH4265 Sand dune/beaches/Coniferous Wood General Species Summer
O.S. Map Reference SH695185
The Penmaenpool Reserve of the RSPB is in the Mawddach Estuary about 3Km west of Dolgellau on
the A493 by the George Hotel and the Toll Bridge. It is best visited in Spring/Autumn during
maximum periods of bird migrations. As well as the many ducks and waders that can be seen here,
there are often reports of visiting Osprey seemingly on route to or from Scotland.
O.S. Map Reference SN6896
Situated on the southern side of the Aberdovey estuary about 10 Km west of Machynlleth on the
A487 near the village of Eglwysfach, the RSPB's Ynys Hir Reserve is arguably the best year
round venue in the upper half of Wales. The vast range of habitats here, some of which have
been painstakingly created, include pinewood, sessile oakwood, scrub and grazing meadow, lakes
and marshland and the estuary saltings. An incredible number of bird species are possible here
with a strong possibility of seeing Red Kite. For any Birders fortunate enough to live within
a day trip of this reserve, it should be a seasonal pilgrimage!
O.S. Map Reference SD4875
Much the same comments made in the previous entry with regards to Ynys Hir also apply here,
although this is a premere RSPB Reserve of the North West of England. It is near the village
of Silverdale about 15 Km north of Lancaster on the A6. A large range of birds can be seen here
but it is rightly famous for being the last stronghold of the Bittern outside the Norfolk fenland
and is also a breeding site for the Marsh Harrier and Bearded Tit. Although it is about 150 Km
from the Clwyd border, it is worth at least a yearly visit. In spring there is a chance to
see or at least hear the Bittern "Boom" and October mornings are probably the best chance to
see the Bearded Tit when this normally shy bird becomes less retiring.
O.S. Map Reference SJ7461
Just west of Sandbach in Cheshire off the A533 are the Sandbach Meres or Flashes, a number of
shallow lakes, originally the result of land subsidence. The three that have been nominated
as reserves are Elton Hall Flash, Foden's Flash and Watch Lane Flash. Breeding birds include
Grebe, Teal, Pochard, Little Ringed Plover, Reed and Sedge Warblers. Migration periods have
brought many rarities to these lakes and in winter, Pintail, Shoveler, Pochard and Bewick's
Swan are amongst the regular visitors.
O.S. Map Reference SJ9618
South of Stafford on the A34, a vast area of heath/woodland comprises Cannock Chase. Although
some areas are popular with holiday makers in the summer months, the number of tracks and
footpaths that intersperse the heath and wood make it easy to find undisturbed sites in which
to watch the vast range of birds that inhabit the chase. The Hawfinch is a possibility here,
while in the evenings Nightjar may be seen and heard flying across the open woodland.
O.S. Map Reference SN7481
Tatton Park is about 4 Km north of Knutsford (Cheshire) on the A5034. It comprises around 400
hectares of parkland, rich in birdlife, and a large lake "Melchett Mere", which has breeding
Ducks, Grebe and Rails, and vast numbers of wintering wildfowl.
O.S. Map Reference SJ6675
Neumanns Flash is a shallow lake on the outskirts of Northwich in Cheshire. It is also known
locally as the " Old Lime Pits" which gives a clue as to it's origins. It can produce some
unusual species particularly during autumn and spring migrations, such as Temminck's Stint,
Curlew Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper,Ruff and Golden Plover.
O.S. Map Reference SN7847
West of Llanwrtyd Wells and north of Llandovery on minor roads off the A483, a visit to the
RSPB's Dinas Reserve presents an excellent chance to see a Red Kite, one of Britains rarest
resident birds. This area of Wales contains the main concentration of these birds in the
country and the fact that they are now increasing in number and spreading further afield is
largely due to the conservation efforts of the RSPB.
A circular walk of about 5Km from the Visitors Center, takes in mixed woodland, river and
moorland habitats and even if the kites are elusive, there is still much to see. Resident
and migrant woodland birds are abundant both in number and species, while Dipper, Kingfisher
and Wagtail inhabit the streams. Atop the high moor, Raven, Buzzard and Peregrine quarrel over
airspace amongst scenery which even were it devoid of birds, would still be worth the walk!