The Cwm Clydach Countryside Park is a small oasis located in the heart of the Rhondda Valleys, on the site of the old Cambrian Colliery. The Park is regularly used by the locals as a place to relax, walk, and take in the scenery. There are two lakes in the Park (referred to locally as ‘Top lake’ and ‘Bottom lake’) as well as a series of small waterfalls. These allow you the chance to spot kingfishers, herons, a variety of gulls (surprisingly!), geese, and more. There are well-marked trails for both walkers and mountain bikers, and even a café located next to Bottom lake.
It’s not just the lakes that are home to wildlife – if you head up towards the mountains you may also see woodland birds such as song thrushes, jays, bullfinches, and great tits (as well as chiffchaffs in the summer!). Although quite small, this is a great place to pop into if you’re passing and is loved by the locals.
Average rating: 2.7 (average)
Average cost: free!
Best time to visit: there’s always a variety of species to be seen on both lakes all year round, although Bottom lake seems to be the most popular with wildfowl species. It’s a great place to stop for a moment of calm if you are passing through the Valleys.
How to get there: it’s easiest to get to by car and there are parking facilities near both lakes. Tonypandy railway station is the nearest one to the Park, although it’s a 30-minute walk from the Park to the station.
Typical activities: bird watching, mountain biking, walking
Number of reports: 3
Last updated: 2022
WILDLIFE IN Cwm Clydach
According to reports submitted to WildSide, the most popular species that can be seen here are:
Kingfisher – 67% OF WildSide Users (2/3) REPORTED SIGHTINGS
Common (or Eurasian) kingfishers are typically found near slow-moving water, so look out for them near the two lakes located at the park (we saw one zipping along Bottom lake). They’re known for their bright blue and orange feathers. Kingfishers typically are around the size of house sparrows with large heads and dagger-like bills. However, they can be difficult to spot, even with their bright colours. Listen out for their distinctive call (a shrill ‘chreee’ or ‘chee-kee’) which usually provides the best clue to their presence.
Eurasian jay – 33% OF WildSide Users (1/3) REPORTED SIGHTINGS
Jays are beautifully coloured members of the crow family. They are easily recognised by the brilliant blue feathers on their wings. Unlike crows and magpies, they are shy birds. So look out for a flash of white and blue and a screaming call as they fly between the trees. The best time to see them is Autumn when they move about the trees looking for food. During this time they are easy to spot hunting for acorns which they store in their favourite hiding places to provide a source of food for Winter. They live in both coniferous and deciduous woodland, especially where there are oak trees. The mountains have a lot of large oak trees, making them a great place to spot (or more likely hear) jays!
Photo credit: WildSide team member Katie Thomas