Cors y Sarnau is a lowland valley mire, a habitat now rare in lowland Britain. Situated North-east of Bala, this reserve is 37 acres in size. The peat deposits that have accumulated over centuries derive from the undecomposed remains of Bog Moss (Sphagnum species), which still thrive over much of the surface. The peat has infilled the original lake left after melt water had escaped along the valley from glaciers.
Where the edges of the mire have become colonised by deciduous trees, mainly Alder and Willow, the woodland floor is consistently wet and as a result supports a well-developed moss and fern flora, as well as being rich in fungi.
Cors y Sarnau boasts a diverse variety of plant communities, reflecting the dynamic nature of habitat succession, as the wetland has gradually tended to dry. There is now little remaining open water but the mire and wet woodland communities are thriving. The most acidic areas are dominated by Bog Moss. Less acidic areas support a greater variety of plants, given to include more sedges and rushes such as Bottle Sedge, Sharp-flowered Rush and the attractive Marsh Cinquefoil. The more acidic areas of wet woodland support Grey Willow and Downy Birch, with Purple Moor-grass and Greater Tussock-sedge below. Less acidic areas favour Alder, with Greater Tussock-sedge and the low-growing but striking Opposite-leaved Saxifrage.
Bird species include Grasshopper Warbler and Sedge Warbler (summer visitors), who you may hear among the scrub and reeds; and both Meadow Pipit and Tree Pipit (summer visitor) can be seen in small flocks on open grassland, with Linnet and Goldfinch. Grass Snakes may be spotted on the wetter parts of the site and Common Lizards in the drier areas. Cors y Sarnau supports a good range of insects, with over 200 recorded, including dragonfly, damselfly and more than 120 species of beetle. Mammals include Pygmy Shrew, Water vole and Otter.
Because of the permanently high water table throughout the site, visitors are urged to keep to the footpaths at all times. Parking is limited, although it is possible to park on the roadside in Sarnau village and walk to the footpaths.
|Cors y Sarnau is a particularly special wildlife area as it part of the Snowdonia Centre of Excellence. This is a is a £4 million project creating and developing the best outdoor adventure opportunities the sector can offer through four key sites.
These four outdoor activity centres include Antur Stiniog downhill mountain bike trails, Coed y Brenin mountain bike centre, Glan Llyn multi activity centre and Prysor Angling at Llyn Trawsfynydd. The project is nearing completion and some exciting developments have been happening at each of the four sites. Click here
to find out more.