43. Waun Las National Nature Reserve
Waun Las National Nature Reserve lies adjacent to the north and east side of the formal Garden area. Occupying over 150 hectares of Carmarthenshire countryside, it has been managed as an organic farm for the past 10 years. It contains a wide range of valuable habitats including rhos pasture, wet woodland and lowland meadows – priorities for conservation in the UK and the rest of Europe. It’s also a landscape of hidden secrets – the NNR is sited on the late 18th century Middleton Estate, which itself was built over the remains of a 17th century estate.
How do you get there?
Access is via the Garden’s main Gatehouse entrance. It’s about a 10 minute walk, alongside our restored lakes, to the start of the NNR.
We’ve created a network of paths across the whole reserve . You’ll need stout footwear as it can get quite muddy and uneven in places – this also means that wheelchair access is restricted to the flat path section between numbers 1 and 2 on the map below. Sorry but we don’t allow dogs unless they are for guiding.
Along the paths, you’ll come across interpretation signs that tell you about how we farm and manage woodland to encourage biodiversity. Have a look at some examples of these.
A beautiful wooded valley called Pont Felin Gât, situated on the northern boundary of Waun Las NNR, was made accessible to garden visitors for the first time in 2010. Thisis a great place to see bluebells and anemones in spring, and a gorgeous waterfall, deep inside the wood, has proven to be a real hit with visitors.
In July 2011, we carried out an archaeological dig on Waun Las (on the field opposite Waun Las Farm). We think we have located an early 17th century high status building and gardens, and that this was the home of the Middleton family, wealthy merchants who helped set up the East India Company. Have a look on our History pages for more details.
On Sunday 14th July 2013, Waun Las NNR hosted the first Wales Wild Flower Day with a field full of artists, craft makers, plant and wildlife experts, family activities and even a herbalist.
On Sunday 13th October 2013, the Garden is hosting Wales (UK) Fungus Day, a day long series of walks, tours and events about fungi. One of these guided walks will visit our waxcap-rich meadow, This will be led by David Mitchell and will run from 10.30-11.30am.