Nature’s Summertime Treats (Part IV)

Silent Valley by Mandy Jones

Spring may have sprung behind closed doors this year but summer brings its own seasonal delights to tempt us outdoors. In this series of blogs, we’d like to introduce you to some of nature’s best summertime treats that you can enjoy at our reserves.

Today, rediscover your inner peace at Silent Valley.

Find your happy place

If you want an escape from it all, to rediscover the peace and tranquillity that nature brings, then we recommend a visit to our Silent Valley nature reserve. If you crave the fresh air and space of mountain slopes, or the dappled light and sounds of an ancient woodland, then Silent Valley has something for you.

Silent Valley by name and nature

Silent Valley has long provided a refuge for people from the noise and stress of daily life. The name ‘Silent Valley’ is said to have come from workers at the Ebbw Vale Steel Works who found it a place of peace after the clamour of industry. The woodland, heath and grassland also provides an important sanctuary for wildlife.

The woodland has been here for centuries and is filled with towering Beech trees and woodland plants. The tumbling stream provides a soothing soundtrack all year round whilst in summer the birds busily dart through the leafy canopy raising their young. Butterflies like Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries flit through the sunny woodland glades.

As the slopes get steeper, the woodland gives way to the open space of heath and grassland, with beautiful views across the Ebbw Valley. Butterflies and Common Lizards enjoy the heat in these more exposed areas, and the sky is patrolled by Buzzards, Red Kites and Ravens.

Return to nature

Silent Valley still bears the marks of its industrial past. At the turn of the 20th Century, this area changed from small-scale farming and charcoal production to industrial boom. On the reserve, there are still mine entrances, the remains of dramlines used for transporting coal through the valley and spoil tips from the workings. Yet given time and careful management, nature is reclaiming the land.

The spoil tips are now providing a vital home for heathland species, with Heather and Gorse covering the once-bare earth and providing food and shelter for species like Stonechats. Listen out for the harsh 'chat' of their calls, sounding like two stones being struck together. 

We are working hard to allow nature to continue its transformation of Silent Valley. We manage the site to provide a mosaic of habitats that allow different species to flourish and, through engagement projects, we are introducing children and local people to this hidden jewel. 

Read more about Silent Valley Nature Reserve here

Help us keep our Nature Reserves open as a haven for wildlife and people!

Donate now

Our local green spaces are more important than ever before, as refuges for wildlife and calming breathing-spaces for ourselves. We have kept all our Nature Reserves open throughout the Spring lockdown. Whilst there the need to maintain and manage these precious places has never been greater, funds have never been less certain.

We need to raise around £350,000 each year to maintain our 30 Nature Reserves for the threatened and important wildlife they support and people who visit them. This year, we are facing a shortfall of £35,000.

If it weren't for the generous support of our members, Pat Gorvin's legacy, the support of players of the People's Postcode Lottery and other grants, this would be much higher. Please support us by making a donation or becoming a member, if you are able. We will be grateful for any support you can give to help maintain these precious places at this difficult time.