Managed by the North Wales Wildlife Trust, Bryn Pydew is one of the best sites in Wales to see plants of limestone pavement and grassland. The reserve lies on Carboniferous Limestone. The thin soils and rocky outcrops make it unsuitable for agricultural improvement and in the past it was probably only used for rough grazing. As a result the site has a wide variety of limestone-loving plants. This richness was recognised following a survey of all the limestone pavements in England and Wales in 1974 and the reserve was established in 1976.
GRID REF: SH818798
Bryn Pydew Nature Reserve is situated between Llandudno and Colwyn Bay.
From Llandudno take the main A470 road towards Conwy.
Pass the sign for the Bodysgallen Hall Hotel and then at the next roundabout turn left towards the village of Segurinside.
Now follow signs to Bryn Pydew, continuing along the very narrow lane.
Go through the village of Bryn Pydew, continuing on in the direction of Llangwstenin until you see the entrance gate (marked SSSI) which is the entrance to the nature
There is a car parking area alongside the lane (OS (1:50,00
This nature reserve is open all year round.
Some of the paths are through woodland and are steep in places.
Limestone pavement is dangerous terrain and great care should be taken when walking is such places. The slabs (known as clints) of limestone can be very slippery when wet. Running between the limestone slabs are deep fissures (called grykes), and so good footwear is essential.
It is possible to park along the lane close to the reserve but there are no other facilities there. There are shops, cafés and public toilets in Llandudno and Colwyn Bay.
Description of Site
Because the reserve is not grazed, trees and shrubs grow on the limestone pavement including Yew (Taxus baccata), Ash (Fraximus excelsior) and Holly (Ilex aquifolium). The grykes are home to plants normally found in woodland including Dog’s Mercury (Mercurialis perennis) and Hart’s-tongue Fern (Phyllitis scolopendrium).
The woodland is a lovely place to visit in the spring when the Early Purple Orchids grow side by side with Primroses (Primula vulgaris), while in the specially-cleared areas there is also Stinking Hellebore (Helleborous foetidus) appearing in increasing numbers.
The outstandingly diverse plant life at Bryn Pydew supports a wide range of invertebrates. There are 22 butterflies species and nearly 600 kinds of moths recorded from the reserve. Moths of particular interest include the Reddish Light Arches (Apamea sublustris), the Heath Rustic (Xestia agathina), the Cistus Forester (Adscita gryon) and the Chalk Carpet Moth (Helanthia procellata), the latter being at the north-west extremity of its range.
There is also a small population of Glow-worm (Lampyris noctiluca) at Bryn Pydew. They feed on snails and, in the evenings of late June or early July, you may be lucky enough to see the greenish light that the female radiates in order to attract a male.
In late spring or early summer a stroll through this lovely nature reserve, with its magnificent views over Penrhyn Bay, is a great way to pass a couple of hours among some of the finest wildlife and ecology in Wales.
I have written a few blog posts about visits to Bryn Pydew which you can click on the links below to view:
Summer: 27/6/13 Wildflowers on a Limestone Pavement
Late summer: 15/9/12 A Hill Not Too Far (part 1)
Late summer: 21/9/12 A Hill Not Too Far (part 2)