Waun Rhydd IPA
Location: Powys, on the A483 between Builth Wells and Llandovery.
Grid Reference: SN 876 453
Waun Rhydd IPA is situated in a broad valley bottom near the town of Llanwrtyd Wells in the Brecon Beacons National Park. It features extensive lowland raised peat bogs which support the largest known colony of ribbonwort in Britain. Soil fertility is naturally low at Waen Rydd and the plants that occur here have specially adapted to these conditions.
The geology of the area forms acidic groundwater and peat bogs have developed in hollows at the north of the site. Pockets of bog remain despite historical peat cutting and drainage. Vegetation typical of bogs, such as hare’s tail cottongrass and bog moss can be found among the widespread purple moor-grass. Heathers, bilberry and common cotton grass are also present. In areas where the peat is thinner wet heath habitats are formed. Here deergrass replaces the hare’s tail cottongrass and tormentil, heath rush and heath milkwort can be found. A wide range of mosses and liverworts occur in this wet heath and the quirky round leaved sundew can frequently be found growing close to pools.
The rare ribbonwort can be seen growing in the spaces between the tussocks of purple moor-grass on the fringes of bogs. Other wetland mosses and liverworts are also found including shining hookeria, bog-moss flapwort and jagged germanderwort.
This valuable wetland area supports dragonflies and damselflies and a range of bird species including common snipes and curlews. A lucky visitor may even spot and otter or a hunting barn owls.