RSPB Mawddach Valley nature reserve takes in two very different habitats around the Mawddach estuary.
This composite site takes in two very different habitats around the Mawddach estuary which are open to the public - the woodland of Coed Garth Gell and the wetland of Arthog Bog.
Coed Garth Gell is a good example of a sessile oak and birch wood, once the main habitat of the hillsides in this part of Wales. Its rich flora of mosses, liverworts and lichens make it a good wood for insects and hence the birds that feed on them - pied flycatcher, redstart, wood warbler and tree pipit. Largest insects include the pearl bordered and dark green fritillary butterflies.
The 114 acres of wood hangs on the steep valley side and runs right down to the Afon Cwm-mynach where dipper and grey wagtail breed. Wetland is to the fore in the 12 acres of Arthog Bog, visited in the summer by whitethroat, sedge and grasshopper warblers. Redpolls nest and feed on the alder "cones". In the winter the Bog is visited by the very secretive water rail. The wetter part of the bog has greater spearwort, marsh clinquefoil and the refreshingly fragrant bog myrtle amongst its less common plants.
The reserve is located to the east of Barmouth between the villages of Bontddu and Taicynhaeaf on the A496. There are several lay-bys and parking places where the reserve can be accessed via public footpaths.