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Strawberry Cottage Wood SSSI

This atmospheric oak woodland is located on a steep south-west facing slope of the River Honddu, within the Brecon Beacons National Park.

This ancient upland oak wood contains pockets of silver birch and a hazel understory. Lower down the slope, ash becomes more frequent, and there is a stand of large beech trees at one point, and a scatter of fine yew trees.

Two mature specimens of one of Britain’s rarest native trees, the wild service tree, are found on the reserve. This tree has maple-like leaves which turn red in the autumn, and white flowers which turn into brown leathery fruits. In the past, it was famous for its fruits, which could be made into sweets for children or alcoholic drinks for adults.

Species

Oak woodlands represent one of the most wildlife-rich habitats found in Britain. The flora at Strawberry Cottage Wood includes slender St John's-wort, violets, yellow archangel, meadowsweet and wood melick. In the summer the pale blue flowers of the nettle-leaved bellflower, with its toothed, heart-shaped leaves, can occasionally be found. 

The reserve provides an ideal habitat for woodland birds including pied flycatcher, spotted flycatcher, redstart, woodcock and all three species of British woodpecker. Of these the lesser spotted woodpecker is now a very uncommon species. You may be lucky enough to spot a sparrowhawk in pursuit of smaller birds. Grass snakes have been recorded on the reserve. Butterflies are particularly attracted to the bridleway which passes through the reserve. 

Access

The reserve is reached by a footbridge. Some of the paths in the reserve are steep and they can be muddy.

Directions

From Abergavenny head north on the A465. After about 8km take the 2nd left at Llanvihangel Crucorney. Continue on this road until reaching the Skirrid Inn. Turn immediately left onto the road signposted Cwmyoy and Llanthony. After about 1.5km, on the right hand side (about 50 metres before the Stanton-Fforest Coal Pit turn-off), look out for a footbridge crossing the River Honddu. A footpath runs directly across a field from the bridge towards the wood and the reserve entrance. There is limited car parking in a small lay-by (grid ref: SO 312 215).

What to see around the reserve

The Skirrid Inn is reputed to be the oldest Public House in Wales, and its history can be traced back as far as the Norman Conquest. Llanthony Priory is one of the earliest houses of Augustinian canons to be founded in Britain. There is excellent walking country in the Brecon Beacons National Park, whilst the reserve is also located close to the Offa’s Dyke Path and the Three Castles Walk. Cwmyoy is a small village located on the River Honddu, famous for its Medieval St Martin's Church with its leaning tower. 

Nearby nature reserves

The Parks
6 miles - Herefordshire Wildlife Trust
Canon Tump Common
8 miles - Herefordshire Wildlife Trust
Little Marises Meadow
8 miles - Herefordshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Location
Near Llanvihangel Crucorney
Abergavenny
Gwent
Map reference
SO 312 215
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
Size
6.00 hectares
Access
No

Walking information
The reserve is reached by a footbridge. Some of the paths in the reserve are steep and they can be muddy.
Parking
There is limited parking in a lay-by on the road, from which there is a short walk across the bridge and along a footpath to the reserve entrance.
Dogs
Dogs allowed
Reserve manager
Gwent Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01495 307525
info@gwentwildlife.org