Old Castle Down is of special interest for a
range of vegetation types and rare species. It supports calcareous
grassland, acid grassland and heathland on limestone. Soft-leaved
sedge and pale heath-violet are themselves features of interest and
a number of other plants occur here which are rare in Wales. These
include bristle-bent, a grass which is found in South-West England
but in only a few places in South Wales. The site and the
surrounding area provides habitat for the high brown fritillary, a
butterfly which is rare and declining nationally.
Old Castle Down SSSI also includes a
geological feature of importance. The disused Duchy Quarry exposes
Carboniferous rocks (about 340 million years old). Cracks and
fissures within these rocks were infilled by sediments in Jurassic
times (about 195 million years ago). These sediments incorporate
the fossil remains of reptiles and primitive mammals.
© This orthophotography has been produced by COWI A/S from
digital photography captured by them in 2006. Licensed by the Welsh
Assembly Government's Department for Environment, Planning and
Managing this site
The site is in private ownership. The special features of this
SSSI and CCW’s views about site management have been summarised in
a Site Management Statement, addressed to the owners and managers
of the land. The statement can be found in the resource section
The majority of the site is designated as CROW open access land
but there is no access to Duchy Quarry. There are two bridleways.
For detailed maps and information regarding access visit our access
map via the resource section below.