Crymlyn Bog and Pant y Sais National Nature Reserve
Crymlyn Bog and Pant y Sais NNR – part of the largest lowland fen in Wales – seems a world away from the nearby urban sprawl of Swansea. Crymlyn Bog lies in a large depression which was carved out when the glaciers retreated at the end of the last Ice Age about 12,000 years ago, and Pant y Sais is similar but on a much smaller scale. Among the more unusual plants found on the reserve are yellow iris, bogbean, marsh cinquefoil and royal fern, a deciduous plant sometimes known as the flowering fern because it produces large reddish-brown fronds that look like flower spikes. Other interesting plants at Crymlyn Bog include the rare slender cotton grass and the lesser water plantain. The abundant reedbeds on the reserve make it a great place to see birds like reed and sedge warblers, reed bunting, Cetti’s warbler and water rail. Rarer visitors include bitterns, bearded tits and marsh harriers.
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About The area
There’s no getting away from it – when it comes to image, Swansea is a bit of a mixed bag. During its heyday in the 19th century, as king of the copper industry, it was known as ‘Copperopolis’. Dylan Thomas then called it an ‘ugly, lovely town’, but home-grown megastar Catherine Zeta-Jones raves about it and surveys have concluded it’s the best place to live in Britain. The good news is that regeneration is afoot. The dock area has been redeveloped into an opulent Maritime Quarter, where refurbished old buildings mingle with modern architecture, and the city is home to some appealing attractions.
When you tire of the city, head west along the Gower Peninsula, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The perfect holiday destination, it is the ideal place to surf, kite surf or boogie board, with stunning beaches and pretty inland areas. There are four National Nature Reserves and ample gardens, parks, cycle-paths and bridleways. Inland Gower is mostly heath and grazing farmland broken up into tiny parcels of fields, but it has its fair share of attractions, with a smattering of little villages, such as Reynoldston, situated on the Cefn Bryn ridge from where there are far-reaching views of the peninsula.
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