Woodland worldwide is facing extreme fragmentation and in many places are absent entirely. We now know that woodlands are important for both us and wildlife, and that they also play a vital part in both local and global ecosystems.

Coed Talylan (Talylan Wood) is in the Bannau Brycheiniog of Wales. The woodland is 70 acres and is unique in several ways. It is a planted ancient woodland site which was abandoned, which means that the woodland currently is a mix of recovered ancient woodland, remnant sitka spruce plantation and native pioneer woods. Through the heart of the wood runs a succulent gorge and stream with old growth trees, mosses, liverworts and ferns, and beneath its soil is a significant seed bank for regeneration. It is not hard to believe the woodland is situated in what is now recognised as part of an old temperate rainforest.

But things could have been very different here. In fact, much farmland around has recently been bought for plantation. Given its patches of standing spruce, the woodland could easily have fallen by the hand of the axe and replanted. But we wanted it differently.

In 2015, we fell in love with Coed Talylan, and new at once that this was something we wanted to protect. We didn’t have much money, but a lot of passion for the last wild places and a vision to change the future for the better.

The woodland forms a peninsula within the barren landscape of this part of the Beacons, and is directly adjacent to Wales’ largest Iron age hillfort, Garn Goch. Looking down from the hillfort, it is splendid to see the woodland spread out beneath. But beyond, the view is very bleak.

Nude landscapes stretch for miles on end. Many have got accustomed to the openness and grassy hills, and even think this has its own beauty. But in fact, these low mountains were once forested. In them roamed many large animals, and countless smaller beings, while the trees and soil remained as a protective layer, slowing down rainfall and forest fires and providing fuel, shelter and food for humans.

But this has all gone. The sheep has done their bit. And planting cannot be done without removing them, nor can soil be restored. But human society need these hills to play their old role in the ecosystem.

Very slowly, policies change, and farming practices move on to other ways. That is why this woodland matters. Coed Talylan is helping change hearts and minds about land practises, while also being an important contributor for wildlife conservation, connecting woodland corridors and balancing climate change impacts.

We need to raise the funds to secure the woodland

Become a member of Coed Talylan Land Trust

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