Hafod Wennol, Pontardawe
Nestling in a small valley, Hafod Wennol forms part of a complex of small fields and other farms that are juxtaposed with open hillside that has quite different upland moorland habitats.
Winding up through the Common of Mynydd y Gwair, North of Swansea, you look down on the cluster of fields of which Hafod Wennol is the gem amongst these. The farm has a mix of damp pasture and drier hay meadows and pasture. The hay meadows can look spectacular, the best fields standing out in late June with a show of Greater Butterfly Orchid, Greater Burnet, Eyebright and Rough Hawkbit. Later on in autumn these meadows can be sprinkled with the yellows, oranges, white, reds and pinks of waxcap fungi.
Please note, Hafod Wennol Coronation Meadow is only open to the public on specially arranged days - more details to follow.
Species to spot
Greater butterfly orchid
Best time to see: June - July
Despite its name this dainty flower is largely pollinated by moths, attracted by a vanilla scent that grows stronger at night. The lesser butterfly orchid looks very alike - the main difference the size and position of its pollen sacs.
Best time to see: April - Aug.
The bulbous, blood-red heads of this member of the rose family often indicate a floodplain meadow. The name burnet comes from the Old French for 'dark brown' - the same source as 'brunette'.
Best time to see: May - June
Once common, this butterfly is now one of our most threatened. It feeds on Devil's-bit scabious. Early lepidopterists called it the "greasy fritillary" because of its shiny appearance. Image © Andrew Curtis/CC BY-SA