Mid Wales leaflet
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The stunning landscape of estuary, sea and mountain is home to a remarkable range of habitats
The Dyfi: Ynyslas National Nature Reserve is situated midway between Aberystwyth and Machynlleth.
The 2,000 hectare National Nature Reserve covers three main areas:
The estuary includes vast areas of internationally important mudflats, sandbanks and saltmarsh that provide important feeding and roosting areas for wetland birds.
The superb dunes of Ynyslas are at the southern side of the estuary mouth and are the largest dunes in Ceredigion.
They demonstrate all the stages of dune formation and growth, from sandy shore through vegetated shingle, fore dunes, mobile dunes and fixed dunes to scrub.
They are home to a rich population of orchids, mosses, liverworts, fungi, insects and spiders; many of these species are rare and some are unknown elsewhere in Britain.
Cors Fochno lies to the south east of the dunes and the River Leri. It is one of the largest and finest remaining examples of a raised peat bog in Britain.
Its formation started around 5500 BC when part of the estuary floodplain was covered by forest, but as sea levels rose, the forest was replaced by reed swamp and then peat bog. The bog’s surface today is dominated by a tapestry of gold and red sphagnum mosses. The most westerly part is now eroded by the sea, but at low tide the stumps of long dead trees can still be seen on the beach near Borth.
Many rare and unusual species live here including insectivorous plants like sundews, the rosy marsh moth and small red damselfly.
Ynyslas is the main access point to the National Nature Reserve.
The visitor centre and small shop is open Easter until the end of September.
There is a 500 metre boardwalk from the visitor centre across the dunes to the beach and a shell path from the visitor centre to a boardwalk across the dunes to the beach.
There is also a footpath from the caravan park to the shell path where it joins the boardwalk.
The visitor centre has been accredited as a Quality Assured Visitor Attraction by Visit Wales. The Visit Wales Quality Marque is awarded to attractions that have been independently assessed against the national standards of the Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme.
Visitor facilities at Ynyslas include:
You can borrow a free discovery backpack at the visitor centre and discover more of the great outdoors.
Each backpack contains useful goodies like binoculars, a magnifying glass, a bug pot and nature identification cards along with a guide explaining how to use them.
The visitor centre is open until Sunday 24 September.
Two waymarked circular walks start from the beach car park at Ynyslas.
1¼ miles, 2 kilometres
Stride through the ever-changing dunes and along the seashore, with stunning displays of flowers in spring and summer and colourful fungi in autumn.
2½ miles, 4 kilometres
Experience a rich variety of habitat including sand dunes, seashore, farmland and then saltmarsh, with stunning views of the estuary.
Download more information about the two Ynyslas Walks
1 mile, 1.5 kilometres
Follow the circular boardwalk around Cors Fochno to get a good flavour of its special habitats
Download more information about the Cors Fochno Walk
During the year look out for changes to the landscape and wildlife.
Read on to find out what you could see here during the different seasons.
As the weather warms up, there are spring flowers in the dunes and flowering cotton grass on the raised bog.
You may catch a glimpse of one of the many reptiles that live here such as the common lizard, sand lizard, adder and grass snake. The Welsh vernal mining bee is also active during the spring.
There is plenty of birdsong to enjoy, too, from the likes of skylarks, linnets, chiffchaffs and willow warbler. In the evening, nightjars can be heard.
Summer brings a varied display of flowers to the reserve. Marsh and bee orchids appear in the early summer in the dune slacks (the wet areas of the dunes) followed by pyramidal orchids. There are also colourful saltmarsh flowers, sea pink, sea aster, sea spurrey and, in late summer, marsh helleborine.
Butterflies and day-flying moths fill the air, while dragonflies dart around the raised bog.
You might spot wildlife like osprey and otter on the estuary.
The autumn colours are rich and varied on the raised bog which is dressed in a range of russet red colours.
Fungi including waxcaps, earth stars, puffballs and bird’s nest fungi add to the colourful display.
Migrating waders can be seen in the estuary.
During the winter months, the Dyfi estuary is home to wintering wildfowl while, on the beach, you may see waders, sanderling and golden plover.
Keep your eyes peeled for hunting birds of prey over the bog. Look out for:
You might also catch sight of the Greenland white-fronted goose: this is its only locality throughout Wales and England.
Dyfi: Ynyslas is a National Nature Reserve.
National Nature Reserves are places with some of the very finest examples of wildlife habitats and geological features.
There are over 70 National Nature Reserves in Wales.
There is a small car park for disabled visitors only beside the main access road to Ynyslas, 30 metres south of the beach car park.
There is access from the disabled visitors car park via a hard surfaced track and wooden ramp suitable for wheelchairs to the Ynyslas Visitor Centre.
The toilets at Ynyslas Visitor Centre are accessible (open Easter to September).
Ynyslas Visitor Centre is open daily between 9am and 5pm from Easter until the end of September.
The toilets are open from 9am until dusk from Easter until the end of September.
Download the location map
Ynyslas is two kilometres north of Borth on the B4353.
The OS grid reference is SN 640 955.
The car park is on tidal sands which are covered by seawater on high spring tides.
Car parking costs £2.
The track to Cors Fochno is on the south side of the B4353 three kilometres from Tre’r-ddol. Go through the gate at the start of the track (please close it after driving through) and the parking area is 800 metres along the track.
The boardwalk around the bog starts from the parking area.
Car parking is very limited and is free of charge.
The OS grid reference is SN 636 926.
The nearest train station is in Borth.
There is a bus service from Aberystwyth to Tre’r-ddol, which goes via Borth and Ynyslas. For details of public transport visit www.traveline.cymru
Tel: 01970 872901 (Easter to end September) or 0300 065 3000 (October to Easter)
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