The Landscape, Wildlife and Art of the Dernol Valley
Nant y Dernol is a tributary of the Wye, situated between Rhayader and Llangurig in mid-Wales. Although now situated within Powys, it forms part of the county boundary between old counties Radnorshire and Montgomeryshire.
Its valley, at a height of 250 – 280m above sea level, runs WNW from the main Wye Valley for a distance of about 2 miles.
Gweunydd Nant y Dernol is a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), designated as such for its acidic grassland, mixed with small areas of neutral grassland, marshy grassland, wet heath, acid flush and wet woodland.
Although, like much of our country, its wildlife and habitats have suffered degradation and losses in recent years, it is still rich in wildlife – both plants and animals – though generally in reduced numbers. This site provides an overview of what still lives in the valley, and shows artworks inspired by it.
The Wye Valley Walk passes along the Dernol Valley as part of its 136 mile route from Chepstow to Plynlimon.
As much as we think it’s a a special place, there isn’t really much special about it in terms of its wildlife; many other places throughout the country will have a similar range of diverse wildlife in them if they are looked at closely enough, so we hope that by showing what we have found here, it might encourage others to look more closely at where they live.
Please note: if you are thinking of visiting Dernol, there is nowhere to park a car along the lane, so it’s foot or cycle access only. The nearest parking is in two small lay-bys, one either side of the bridge over the Wye at SN921738.
In the plant and animal sections of this site I have included a few notes about what is featured, but these are not meant to be comprehensive, just points of interest (or not …). For anyone who wants to read more, there are many resources online specialising in all groups of plants and animals. Most photos are in galleries, and can be clicked on / tapped to see a larger version, and in some case, more information about the subject of the photo; the larger photos can be scrolled through within the gallery (there is currently a bug in the plug-in used for this, which means that at the end of a gallery, advancing further takes you to the next gallery – hopefully this will soon be fixed).
All photos on this site have been taken in Dernol (apart from the ‘Local Area’ section), unless otherwise stated. Some are not good photos (animals are not always co-operative, and I think it is wrong to kill anything just to get a good photo), and hopefully these will be replaced by better ones when the opportunity arises. Some sections of the site don’t have much on them at the moment, but this is an ongoing project which will never be finished, with more being added all the time – so do please check back again!
I am not an expert on any of the types of plants and animals I’ve photographed for this site, but I have done my best to correctly identify them. If you notice anything that has been incorrectly identified, can identify something that I have not been able to, notice any errors in the text, or suffer display problems (most likely on a tablet or ‘phone) please let me know via ‘Contact Us’ in the page footer.
I’d also be interested to know any local names for any of the plants and animals shown on the site.
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