The farm covers an area of around 60 acres, with sections of meadowland, woodland and pasture. The land is criss-crossed by a series of small streams which flow into the Abermarlais river, a tributary of the Twyi (Towy) river. On the far side of the land, the Abermarlais forms our border.
The fields are bounded by dense and species-rich hedgerows with some mature trees.
We have been laying hedges and re-opening old coppiced areas of wood. We aim to source all the firewood for use in Llwynbwch Barn, Hafan and Derwen cabins and our own home from the woodlands at Llwynbwch and have managed this over the last three years.
Spend some time in the land around Llwynbwch and you’ll see evidence of roe deer, badgers, small mammals and ocasionally otters. Many kinds of wild birds are often seen and heard, including cuckoos, songthrush, nuthatches, gold crest, dippers, grasshopper warbler, garden warbler, willow warbler, bullfinch, goldfinch, chiffchaff, woodpeckers, pied wagtails who nest on our roof, swallows who annually nest in an outhouse and a kingfisher we’ve spotted a few times down by the Abermarlais river. We’ve seen sparrowhawks from our garden and buzzards and red kite are overhead daily. There is even talk of salmon coming up the Abermarlais to spawn, though we haven’t seen one yet!
In 2016 we were again surveyed by conservation organisations who reported on Llwynbwch’s rich mix of species-rich habitats. Areas of damp neutral grassland were recorded as sustaining typical grasses such as Yorkshire fog, sweet vernal grass, timothy, crested dog’s-tail and bent grasses. There are large patches of nectar- and pollen-rich flowers like yellow rattle, greater bird’s-foot trefoil, red clover and common knapweed. The wettest areas feature abundant hemlock water-dropwort, meadowsweet, yellow flag and rush. Devil’s-bit scabious is common in several of the fields – where this occurs in tussocky purple moorgrass there is ideal, lightly grazed habitat for the marsh fritillary. Whorled caraway, Carmarthenshire’s county plant, is also frequent here. Common spotted orchids grow in abundance and in the past few years we have found an increasing area of greater butterfly orchids.
We are very happy that Butterfly Conservation have repeatedly visited Llwynbwch. In 2020 they again recorded the endagered Marsh Fritillary butterfly’s larval webs and Brown Hairstreak butterfly eggs. Numbers of both of these butterflies are generally declining due to loss of habitat. A variety of day-flying moths and other butterflies are often seen in the summer months.
In early spring the woodlands are carpeted in wood anemones which make way for a dense cover of bluebells in one woodland area, which are a joy to see.
For any of our guests wanting to know more about what we are up to here, please come and find us and we will happlily tell you more about our sustainable and environmental development plans and the wonderful flora and fauna here at Under Starry Skies.