Laying on the eastern side of the Blorenge Mountain this spectacular site is dominated by a large, wooded glacial cwm containing a man-made lake. The slopes of the cwm are wooded mainly with wood pasture of old beech pollards, some of which are over 200 years old, in addition to ash, sessile oak and rowan. These wooded slopes are of particular interest as they form some of the highest altitude Ancient Semi Natural Woodland in Britain. Several smaller blocks of more recent planting exist nearer the lake, which were introduced by the National Park around 1980, before the Woodland Trust acquisition in 1987.
The land above the Punchbowl is the open common of the Blorenge with grazing by sheep, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The surrounding farmland is grazed with some new native woodland directly below the Punchbowl pool. The whole site lies within the Brecon Beacons National Park, and there are small areas of ancient woodland and plantations on ancient woodland sites on the lower slopes of the Blorenge.
The area of land to the south of the cwm mainly consists of acid grassland, although a block of mature lodgepole pine and young broadleaves exists near to the main entrance and two small areas of planted broadleaves may be found along the green lane at the south eastern end, extending the area of woodland. The land north of the cwm, formerly hillside pasture, was planted with native broadleaved species between 1987 and 2000 and livestock has been excluded from this area.
Public access exists in the form of a public bridleways, a sunken lane and a permissive path which run between four pedestrian entrances. Several viewpoints within the site offer views of the Usk valley and surrounding landscape. The site is a dramatic landscape feature and part of it is clearly visible from a distance to the north and east. A dry-stone wall lies on the western boundary of this site. This wall is to be maintained with periodic restoration works - this will ensure stock from the Blorenge is excluded from the site, and that the feature of the old wall is preserved.
The site has three key features, Wood Pasture (Semi Natural Ancient Woodland), Old Growth Stand (with Pollards) and Informal Public Access.
The Ancient Semi Natural Woodland / Wood pasture is dominated by beech with ash, Downy birch and occasional Sessile oak, Field maple and Holly. Many of the beech are veteran pollards up to 6ft in diameter and pollarded c 1900. The woodland should be considered as an old growth stand. This area also includes areas of upland acid grassland (U4) pasture, and open areas of bracken dominated hillside. These areas are considered important within the context of the wood pasture as they provide important areas of grazing.
Several means of public access exist within the site, including a road used as a public path (RUPP), a regularly used bridleway and a permissive path. There are four pedestrian entrances to the site, situated on the southern and eastern boundaries.
The site will be managed to create high forest of predominantly native broadleaved species with a component of beech grown from site sourced seed. This woodland will be managed in the long term as a wood pasture with pollards.