May 24 2019

Blackcaps and Bara brith – a successful walk

William Maidlow reports on our guided walk – A song of slate and steam


On a fine May morning a group of 14 walkers assembled at the Ffestiniog Railway’s Tan y Bwlch station for a walk of approximately 4 miles in the woods of Dyffryn Maentwrog, ending in Coed Hafod y Llyn. Excellent views were had at different points on the walk, including the Moelwyn and Rhinogau ranges, and South over the Dwyfor estuary to Porthmadoc, Morfa Harlech, and the Llyn Peninsula. Kylie was able to explain the key role of the Woodland Trust in preserving surviving remnants of the Celtic Rainforest in this area, as well as the links between the Oakeley family of Plas Tan Y Bwlch and the slate industry, coupled with the role of the Ffestiniog Railway in transporting the slate from the quarries at Blaenau Ffestiniog to the sea at Porthmadoc.


The distinctive plumage and call of the Ffestiniog Railway engine was witnessed first hand! Photo: Kylie Jones Mattock


An excellent range of birds were heard or seen, many of them summer visitors. Our list included Tree Pipit, Wood Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Siskin, while an unconfirmed sighting of an Osprey was an additional highlight. The distinctive call of the Cuckoo could be heard as the walk commenced. The walk concluded with well deserved (and highly recommended!) tea and cakes in the excellent café at Tan y Bwlch station, appropriately accompanied by whistles and steam from passing trains. Our thanks to WT volunteer Clifton for his invaluable help in publicising the walk. Thanks Cliff!


Written by William Maidlow


Common cow-wheat is ready for it’s close up – a common flower on acidic soils at this time of year. Photo: Kylie Jones Mattock

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