We’re set to restore Atlantic woodland at a new site in Wales

Thanks to the generosity of one of our supporters we have the opportunity to restore a precious ancient woodland site in Wales to its former broadleaved glory.

Allt Boeth (Photo: WTML/R Francis)

About Allt Boeth

The site, Allt Boeth near Devils Bridge, provides a unique opportunity for demonstrating and monitoring the process of restoring plantation ancient woodland.

Allt Boeth is ancient woodland. We believe it has been continuously wooded since 1600 and probably much longer. The Forestry Commission established a plantation of conifer trees on the site in 1955 and it was then sold into private ownership in 1991. Now it has been generously gifted to us by its most recent owner, Roger Gallienne.

Since 2002 the wood has been managed by an expert in Continuous Cover Forestry, Phil Morgan who is still involved in the present management.

The 22.5 hectare site is situated at the head of Cwm Rheidol, a few miles east of Aberystwyth, in the iconic backdrop for S4C’s Hinterland detective series.

Set among the steep ancient-wooded valley sides above the Rheidol gorge, Allt Boeth is mainly composed of pine, larch, spruce and beech, on former oceanic oak and birch woodland.

European pine marten (Martes martes) emerging and looking from woodpecker's nest hole in tree in autumn forest.
Allt Boeth is made even more special by its proximity to the recent pine marten release site (Photo: Vincent Wildlife Trust)

Pine martens at Allt Boeth

The wood is made even more special by its proximity to the recent pine marten release site and the historic records of a pine marten population in the Rheidol area.

The Vincent Wildlife Trust has deployed cameras, tubes and den boxes at Allt Boeth to research and monitor the pine martin movements. In 2015 we supported a project releasing pine martins into the area to boost numbers and genetic diversity.

There is also potential for this site to be used for the monitoring of both pine marten populations and the link with grey squirrel predation and breeding pressure impacts.

It’s likely that Allt Boeth will play a part in the future population range, or territory, of pine martens in this part of Mid-Wales.

Particular attention and monitoring will be on ground vegetation but consideration is being given to other inhabitants of the site such as birds, small mammals, invertebrates and microorganisms.

The future of Allt Boeth

As a result or restoring native tree cover, the woodlands will provide better opportunities for plant and fungi species lost from the wider landscape.

As the structural and biological diversity of the site increases, due to the recovery of native trees, the site shall become home to a wide array of fauna, including hopefully, an established population of pine marten.

The restored woodland will be maintained in a good ecological condition, with native trees that provide the perfect environment for our native plants and wildlife. So future visitors to this part of West Wales will experience dramatic and rich Atlantic woodland where plant life is lush and wildlife is diverse.

The process of restoration and transformation will be closely monitored over the coming decades and the site will yield insightful data on the biological changes that have occurred over the years.

Why not travel back in time and explore an ancient woodland near you?