South and East Region
CCW’s South and East Region covers the
counties of Powys, Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen, Newport,
Caerphilly, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Merthyr Tydfil, Cardiff, Vale of
Glamorgan and Bridgend.
CCW's South and East Region
The Regional Director is Dr Maggie Hill and there are three
Regional Offices – at St Mellons in Cardiff, Abergavenny and
Protecting diverse landscapes
This is a region of extreme variety. Whilst much of Welsh
industry is concentrated here, the landscape and wildlife of the
region is as rich and varied as any other part of Wales.
Powys forms the backbone of the Region and from the summits of
the Brecon Beacons you can see the entire Region and beyond. Still
in Powys, Radnorshire has the largest number of Sites of Special
Scientific Interest in Wales, whilst Brecknock has the highest
proportion of land designated as SSSI. Montgomeryshre has important
parklands with ancient trees over 200 years old, most notably at
Powis Castle and on the Gregynog Estate.
Three main rivers flow through the Region – the Severn, the Wye
and the Usk, all of which are designated as at least an SSSI.
Thanks to improvements in their water quality, they are not only
salmon fishing mecca, but home to other important types of fish
such as the twaite shad and river lamprey.
The three rivers reach the sea at the Severn Estuary. The
estuary has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world – about 15
metres. This means that it has one of the largest intertidal
habitats in the UK: a rich tapestry of mudflats, sandflats, rocky
platforms and islands.
A newly created National Nature Reserve can be found on the
shores of the Estuary – Newport Wetlands. It was established in
2000 and became an NNR in 2008. Its habitats have quickly developed
as a haven for wildlife and a variety of birds are attracted to it
– breeding lapwing, redshank, oystercatcher and little ringed
plover as well as visitors such as wigeon, shoveler, teal, bittern
and hen harrier.
The old coalfields of South Wales have long gone, but in their
place are wildlife havens. As the areas have remained largely
untouched since the heyday of their industrial activity, several
species of heather have had the time to clothe the slopes,
providing a home for other wildlife.
One of the finest lowland landscapes in Britain is the Wye
Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the only AONB to
straddle England and Wales. One of its features is the Wye Valley
Woodlands, whose high quality native woodlands especially ash,
beech and yew woods, have been identified as some of the best
examples of ravine woodlands in Europe.
But not all of the Regions impressive landscapes are easily
seen. If you travel underground to the many caves in the Brecon
Beacons National Park you could venture to another world. At Dan yr
Ogof, for instance, you can see an impressive show of stalactites
and underground lakes.
On the coast
The Regions coastline stretches around 80 miles and is
characterised by the coastal cliffs of the Vale of Glamorgan and
the impressive sand dunes of Kenfig and Merthyr Mawr.
In the Bristol Channel lies Flatholm Island, the most southerly
point of Wales. The island is now designated as an SSSI because of
its maritime grasslands and rare plants such as rock sea-lavender
and wild leek.
Enjoying the Region
There are ample opportunities to go out and enjoy the variety
that South and East Wales has to offer. Parks, greenspaces, woods
and local paths are never far away, whether you live in a city
centre or a rural village. As well as the popular attractions of
the Brecon Beacons or the fantastic beaches on the Glamorgan
Heritage Coast, Mid and South Wales still has plenty of other
remote areas where you can get away from it all.