Wildlife encounters

Highlights... evening bat walks, the elusive otter, secret camera in a beehive, pond dipping, deer herd

Experience wonderful encounters with nature in our parks, gardens and woodlands, from twilight walks with bats to seeing the secrets of the hive.

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Bryngarw House and Country Park

Enjoy the great outdoors along woodland trails. You can walk for miles here, moments from the M4, through a woodland rich in wildlife and tranquillity.

Margam Country Park

Part grand estate with rare breeds, part fairytale castle and ancient ruins, Margam is a park for the people like no other.

Woodland play and adventure

Kids’ stuff that adults love too, from swinging across a stream to whittling wood round a campfire. There’s fun for all in our wild and wonderful landscapes and parks.

Intimate encounters with nature

Peer through a secret camera deep into the heart of a beehive and watch how the worker bees make that precious honey, at Scolton Manor in Pembrokeshire. Or catch grasshoppers, climb trees, go pond dipping and make your own den in the woods at Colby Woodland Garden. Check out where water shrews and otters are to be found and see how many moths have been caught in the moth traps overnight.
Feel the knobbly bark of the centenarian cork tree and see red kites flying overhead or brown hares tumbling out from the rhododendron shrubbery at Margam, Port Talbot. And don’t miss their herds of deer.
Take yourself to the edge of wilderness with a walk through the magical valley at Penllergare – where all you can hear is the sound of rushing water and, if you are lucky, the sight of the salmon leaping upstream. You would never know you were on the edge of Swansea.
When you cross over the streams at Bryngarw make sure you look for the dippers. Polecats are harder to spot, as are the Daubenton's bats and the elusive otter, but they are all there if you keep your eyes open. If you’re lucky you may visit Aberglasney, Llangathen the day the otters come up from the River Tywi to feast on the freshwater eels in the garden pool.

Going batty

It could be the ‘Twilight’ effect but the summer evening bat walks at Bryngarw, Bridgend and Colby Woodland Garden, near Tenby, are always a sellout. You need a sharp eye in the gathering gloom but there are half a dozen kinds to look out for. The brown long-eared bat has ears that are almost as long as its body and it loves to feast on big insects such as moths and beetles. The earliest out and about, the noctule bat with narrow pointed wings, is the most common in Wales. Tiny Daubenton’s bat, recognisable by its hairy face, favours the lakes and is nicknamed the water bat; it lives for up to 20 years. Margam Country Park is so ‘bat rich’ it has breeding colonies all over the gardens, from pipistrelles in the Orangery, to long-eared bats in the Abbey; while in the Citrus House a warm space above the boiler was specially created to encourage bats to roost. How kind is that!