Tucked behind one of Cardiff’s busiest roads is a small, tranquil haven away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Full to the brim of different wildlife habitats, the Howardian Nature Reserve is sandwiched between the Newport Road industrial estates and the slip road for the A48, not somewhere you’d expect to find a reserve. And especially not somewhere you’d expect to find a waterfall and reed beds.
As I stepped from the concrete roads into the tree lined pathways on a chilly winters day, I was met with bird song and the calming rustling of reeds. It felt like I was miles away. The path meandered through reed beds, past ponds which were starting to show signs of life as the days started to get lighter. The bright pops of yellow from flowering gorse bushes added a welcome touch of sunshine on a wintery day.
The reedbeds and meadows make way for a woodland which contains a picturesque stream and one of my favourite best kept Wild Cardiff secrets, a waterfall. The reserve started life as a 6 acre school project at a disused refuse site, and has since grown to become a 32 acre reserve, home to over 500 species. It’s unspoilt by heavy footfall and so you get to see (or hear) a few of our more shy species such as Jays and Great Spotted Woodpecker, as well as woodland favourites such as tits, finch and thrush species. And of course, it wouldn’t be winter without the snow drops making a welcome appearance.
I’m looking forward to taking the camera for more trips here to see how the habitats change with the seasons, and hopefully to take a few pictures of the residents!
For more information and to visit the Horwardian Nature Reserve in Cardiff, click here!