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A wildlife oasis hidden between the Twin Towns

If you have an hour or so to spare, perhaps before catching the ferry or a train, there’s a peaceful nature reserve that’s perfect for a ramble close by.

Across the road from the Parrog beach lies a reedy marsh formed when the land was swamped by the sea after the last Ice Age. This wet valley makes an ideal habitat for plants and animals that like a watery environment. There’s a footpath running behind the reserve that provides an intriguing route, with splendid views towards the harbour and Goodwick. A new boardwalk is being created (2023) that will allow nature lovers access into the reed bed itself.

Early in the morning you might see elusive foxes, badgers or otters in the undergrowth; during the day there are birds such as sedge and reed warblers, sedge buntings and moorhens hiding among the reeds; sparrowhawks, buzzards and kestrels often circle overhead looking for small mammals, amphibians and reptiles. Butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies skim the marsh in summer.

An entrance to the footpath can be found just above the Seaview Hotel on the hill leading towards Fishguard. A path leads down to a wooden bridge over Goodwick Brook that forms the parish boundary between the twin towns, and thence to a causeway lined with willows and alders. The path rises between two massive stone gateposts to become a tree-lined lane bounded by old walled banks that host a succession of wild flowers: celandines, primroses, bluebells, foxgloves, red campion. In the wetter area marsh marigolds and yellow flag irises flourish.

Peaceful now, Goodwick Moor has a shady history as a smuggling route from the beach up to the turnpike road, allowing contrabrand to bypass the town. This area is still known as Cwm Brandy/Brandy Valley. Earlier still, in the 11th century, a major battle took place here between two Welsh warlords.

The path ends at the Drim farmhouse with its walled garden and thence there’s an easy route back to the Parrog, with views across the marsh towards Fishguard.

Comments (1)

Natasha de Chroustchoff's profile picture
I am glad to report that as of August 2023 the new boardwalk through the moor is open and is accessible for all.

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