Gors Maen Llwyd
Know before you go
Parking informationPark at the top car park (SH 970 580) or near the bird hide (SH 983 574)
Grazing animalsSheep, February to October.
Although the site consists of open-access land, please keep to the paths to avoid disturbance to wildlife, particularly ground-nesting birds. The Brenig Trail cycling route passes through northern parts of the reserve.
The site is exposed and isolated, and mobile phone signal is patchy. Paths are uneven in places and suitable footwear is recommended.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitspring and summer
About the reserve
In spring, head out through the heather and onto the moor at dawn and you could experience a natural wonder that has been taking place here for millennia: the bubbling call of male black grouse lekking. Then, as the sun rises over the Clwydian Range to the east, the distinctive, peaty moorland aroma fills the air along with the calls of curlew, skylark and cuckoo heralding the new day. Gradually, as the panoramic views are revealed from the dark of night, the serene sensation of being alone in a huge, wild landscape unfolds.
Gors Maen Llwyd, bordering Llyn Brenig, is one of the Wildlife Trust’s largest nature reserves and comprises upland heath, blanket bog and wetland filled with sphagnum moss, bogbean and cranberry. In summer, sand martins nest in large colonies along the edge of the reservoir, their constant coming and going providing the backdrop to any summertime stroll. ‘Gors Maen Llwyd’ means ‘bog of grey stone’ – a stone brought here and deposited by the retreating ice sheets of the last ice age – but there’s nothing at all grey about this reserve!
This area of upland has been ‘managed’ by people for thousands of years. Ancient Britons removed forest to provide more grazing whilst, in the early 1900s, the moor was maintained for grouse shooting. (Now protected from shooting, both black and red grouse breed at the site.) The Wildlife Trust is trying to manage the landscape in a more natural way by keeping areas of varying habitats. Small areas of heather are cut on rotation – in wavy shapes to better blend into the landscape – to keep the age structure diverse, whilst sheep graze the site during spring and summer to keep the heather in good condition. Conifer encroachment from surrounding plantations is kept in check.
Gors Maen Llwyd lies at the northern end of Llyn Brenig, 7 miles South West of Denbigh and 4 miles North of Cerrigydrudion. Both car parks are accessible from the B4501: one immediately from the road (SH 970 580) and one down a short track, near the bird hide (SH 983 574). You can also access the reserve by parking at Dŵr Cymru’s Llyn Brenig Visitor Centre and walking around the lake shore in either direction – this will take about an hour, depending on your pace.