Graig Fawr Woods

Graig Fawr Woods

Public Forest/Natural AreaSpecial TreeWildlife HabitatNative Forests/Plants


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Situated on a prominent south-west facing scarp slope overlooking Margam and Port Talbot, Graig Fawr is visible for many miles. It is a dramatic landscape feature with a mixed canopy of conifer and broadleaves along with natural features such as cliffs and open grassland. To the west of Graig Fawr is the small hamlet of Brombil and to the south-west the M4 motorway runs along a section of boundary. The majority of the adjoining land to the north and north-east is farm pasture, whilst directly east are the grounds of Margam Country Park owned by the Local Authority, which includes woodland and is a very popular place to visit. Finally to the south is the Gorsedd Field of the National Eisteddfod at Port Talbot in 1966.

There are several access points to the woodland and numerous permissive and public footpaths (although the delineation of some of these is not clear). Most visitors enter the woodland from the lower footpaths, and those energetic enough to reach the upper footpath (along the top ridge) can enjoy spectacular views of the nearby Steel works and the Bristol Channel beyond.

The site is extremely rich archaeologically, with six sites present, including a World War II RADAR station, a 14th Century Monk's Bath House and a Napoleonic lookout camp.

In addition to archaeological features, and management for public access, a key feature of the site is that part is a Planted Ancient Woodland Site. Less than 20% of the area of the site is designated as PAWS but much of the site displays ancient woodland features, making it one of the largest sites with ancient woodland characteristics in the locality. It lies within a region with a high concentration of ancient woodland and management of the site will involve treating the entire site as PAWS. Native trees currently amount to a small proportion of the overall woodland canopy, which is dominated by conifer and non native broadleaved species. Pockets of rhododendron are to be found and are being controlled. Ground flora is mainly limited to the bluebells, abundant beneath the broadleaved canopy and truly stunning in the spring time when in flower. Fallow deer, some originating from Margam Country Park, are regularly seen in the woodland and the consequence is that many trees are starting to show evidence of damage. A small cull to prevent damage to regeneration is undertaken each year. The wood is a nesting site for some raptors - kestrel, buzzard, sparrow hawk, little and tawny owls were all reported in 1990.


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