What a marvellous place this is! Yesterday, I joined several of my friends from the Glamorgan Fungi Club for a foray up, down and around the rolling sand dunes of the Merthyr Mawr National Nature Reserve. You might think the words fungi and sand dunes are incompatible but you’d be wrong. Though we didn’t find the somewhat elusive fungi we were seeking, we did find several other interesting species, as well as an assortment of the more common critters: ladybirds and butterflies, hoverflies and bees, a glow worm larva and a lizard.
The dunes provide the perfect habitat for some rare insect species (the Dune tiger beetle, a rare weevil, the Solitary wasp, the Cuckoo bee and the Mining bee), and are also home to many rare and endangered plants, including two species of Marsh-orchid.
These dunes are the second highest in Europe, and, as well as providing a home to wildlife, they have also seen their fair share of human activity over the millennia: everything from Mesolithic stone axes and Neolithic pottery to Bronze Age burial chambers and Roman coins have been found here. It is a place to explore again and again, with each season offering the visitor something special and superb.