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Countryside Council for Wales
Landscape & wildlife Please note - A new body, Natural Resources Wales has taken over all functions and services previously carried out by Countryside Council for Wales. While the Natural Resources Wales website continues to be developed, some online services will continue to be provided on this web site.

Old Castle Down

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.

Old Castle Down SSSI aerial photo

© 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 Countryside.

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 below.

Access information

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.




Access map

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Email address
Postal address
The landscapes team [SSSI]
C/O Enquiries
LL57 2DW
Telephone number
0845 1306229
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