The Begwns is an area of upland common land comprising a series of undulating hills to the southeast of Painscastle in Radnorshire. The Begwns are owned and managed by the National Trust and are grazed by cattle, ponies and sheep.
Hidden away amongst these bracken covered slopes are numerous ponds, most of which are seasonal and to the untrained eye perhaps don’t appear to be anything special. In fact, these ponds are very special indeed.
Collectively, the Begwns’ ponds, along with other upland ponds in Radnorshire, support a substantial percentage of the global population of a rare aquatic fern called Pillwort. The site also supports Tubular Water-dropwort, which is found nowhere else in Radnorshire and is in serious decline throughout Wales. Both species rely pond margins which dry down in the summer months, combined with clean unpolluted water, and the grazing livestock which create lightly poached pond margins. These conditions also benefit a species-rich assemblage of other higher plants, and diverse animal, bird and insect communities. In recognition of this exceptional freshwater site, Radnorshire Wildlife Trust have proposed that the Begwns are designated a Local Wildlife Site.
We have been supporting volunteers from the Begwns’ Pond Group to help them find out more about the wildlife on the site. To date, new discoveries have included recording the presence of the exceedingly rare White-clawed Crayfish, and the presence of five species of amphibian, including the Priority Pond species, Great Crested Newt and Common Toad.
Accessibility: Some Flagship Pond sites are accessible to the public, and some are not. If in doubt, consult maps for rights of way, look online for site information, or contact the site manager, and follow any instructions on site. It is up to you to check whether you require permission to visit and access the ponds on a site.
Site owners/managers: National Trust