coed glas/the blue wood

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Coed Glas entrance sign

Location and Ecology

Coed Glas/The Blue Wood is approximately 11 acres/4.45 hectare of mixed woodland in Carmarthenshire, Wales, UK. It forms part of a larger (approx. 60 acres/25 hectare) woodland which has been sub-divided into 5 lots. Coed Glas is situated on a curving hillside, with both Westerly and Southerly aspects. A significant part of the woodland consists of plantation on ancient woodland (PAWS). Two plantation tree species are present: a large amount of near-mature European Larch (Larix europa) and somewhat fewer Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta subsp. latifolia). Native tree species present, in order of abundance are Welsh Oak (the sessile Oak, Quercus petraea); Ash (Fraxinus excelsior); Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna); Holly (Ilex aquifolium); and Hazel (Corylus avellana). The woods are also abundant in Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta - for which the wood is named), Wild Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum, also known as Woodbine), Ivy (Hedera helix subsp. helix.) and many other native woodland shrub and flower species.

The wood is home to many insects, birds and mammals, the latter including Badger (Meles meles); Fox (Vulpes vulpes); Pipistrelle Bats (Pipistrellus pipistrellus); and Wood Mice (Apodemus sylvaticus).

There is abundant bird life in Coed Glas. Commonly spotted species include: Great Tit (Parus major); Willow Tit (Poecile montanus); Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs); Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes); Robin (Erithacus rubecula); Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus);  Nuthatch (Sitta europaea); Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis); Jay (Garrulus glandarius); European Magpie (Pica pica); and Wood Pidgeon (Columba palumbus). At least one pair of Common Buzzards (Buteo buteo) are resident in the woods, which are regularly overflown by Red Kite (Milvus milvus) - this locality being a centre for the UK breeding and reintroduction programme for this species of diurnal raptor. The wood is also home to a least one breeding pair of Tawny Owl (Strix aluco).

Woodland Use & Management

Coed Glas is being principally managed for biodiversity, using Permaculture principles. In practice this means some small-scale continuous cover forestry, removing selected plantation trees to create small clearings where regeneration by native species can take place. We have also created several small ponds across the wood, the larger of which have been rapidly stocked by indigenous frog, newt and insect species.
A secondary use of the wood is as a sustainable source of biofuel in the form of firewood, this being derived from the felled plantation species and from the coppicing of oak. Some of the locally felled Larch was milled onsite and the resulting timber used to construct some simple facilities to support woodland activities. We regularly host working visits from the local Permaculture group, which is associated with Transition Town Llandeilo.