Ty Canol National Nature Reserve
Ty Canol National Nature Reserve

Ty Canol National Nature Reserve is an atmospheric mix of ancient oak woodland and pasture set in the beautiful surroundings of the Preseli Mountains of northern Pembrokeshire. The twisted oaks of Ty Canol are like something out of a fairy tale.

Ty Canol is known primarily for its remarkable variety of lichen, and over 400 distinct varieties of lichen have been found here. Lichen can thrive in Ty Canol because the site has long been used for agricultural grazing. Lichens need light to survive, and by culling oak trees and allowing farm animals to graze the open pockets of land, the site provides an ideal; habitat for a huge variety of light-loving lichens.

Sessile oak is the dominant tree at Ty Canol, with smaller numbers of hazel, mountain ash, and birch.

Lichen abounds in Ty Canol woods
Lichen abounds in Ty Canol woods

The Ty Canol site is jointly managed by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Natural Resources Wales.

The woodland stands directly beside Pentre Ifan, a Neolithic chambered tomb that is one of the most famous prehistoric monuments in Wales. The dolmen is visible from the trail that leads to the woods.

Ty Canol is what is known as a 'wood pasture', that is, a mix of woodland and pasture. To the north is Hagr y Coed, which translates from the Welsh as 'Ugly Wood'. This is an area of wet oak, ash, and downy birch woodland, criss-crossed by small streams.

To the south is Carnedd Meibion Owen, an open area of heath named for cairns that spring from a rocky outcrop whose name means 'the Cairn of Owen's Sons'.

The mossy forest floor
The mossy forest floor

Getting There

There are several ways to reach Ty Canol woodland; one from the north and two from the south.

First, the northern approach.

From Fishguard, take the A487 towards Cardigan. When you reach the Nevern turn-off on your left, take the minor road opposite, on your right, signposted to Cilgwyn. This leads to a crossroads where you turn left.

One km further on you come to a car park on your right. Walk down the signposted path until you come to farm buildings. Bear right, then left to bypass the buildings, then carry on down the path and into the woods. Bear left at a T-junction and you will be in Ty Canol woodland.

This route, though it has the benefit of an official car park, demands the longest walk.

Twisted and gnarled trees create a special atmosphere
Twisted and gnarled trees create a special atmosphere

Alternatively, the most straightforward approach is from the south, on the minor road that leads from Brynberian to Pentre Ifan. Simply follow the brown signs for Pentre Ifan and park at the sharp bend in the road opposite the paved drive to Tycanol Farm. There is a lay-by with parking space for at least four vehicles.

Follow the drive towards Tycanol Farm and you will see Pentre Ifan on a rise to the right of the drive. The farm comes into view after about 600m. Pass to the right of the farm buildings and go through a gate. You will see an information panel with a map of the woodland ahead of you.

There are signposted trails throughout the woods that allow you to take a circular walk with the option of extending the walk into Pentre Ifan Woods to the north. Be aware that there are no visitor facilities.

More Photos

About Ty Canol National Nature Reserve
Address: Brynberian, Pembrokeshire, Wales, SA41 3TZ
Attraction Type: Countryside
Location: The easiest point of access is up the drive to Tycanol Farm beginning at SN0980236718 (what3words ///dads.suffix.squirted). Pass to the right of the farmhouse, through a gate, and you will see the Ty Canol information panel.
Website: Ty Canol National Nature Reserve
Location map
OS: SN090369
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express


Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest

Pentre Ifan - 0.6 miles (Prehistoric Site) Heritage Rating

Nevern, St Brynach Church & Cross - 2 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

Waun Mawn - 2 miles (Prehistoric Site) Heritage Rating

Nevern Castle  - 2.1 miles (Castle) Heritage Rating

Tafarn-y-bwlch Standing Stones - 2.1 miles (Prehistoric Site) Heritage Rating

Carreg Coetan Arthur Burial Chamber - 2.2 miles (Prehistoric Site) Heritage Rating

Newport (Pembrokeshire) Castle - 2.4 miles (Castle) Heritage Rating

Penlan Uchaf Garden - 2.9 miles (Garden) Heritage Rating

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