The Beauty of Ty Canol Woods

©Nigel Summerley

Let there be light… and let there be lichens… and mosses…

It’s the space between the trees plus the light this brings to the woods of Ty Canol that make this such an especially beautiful place.

©Nigel Summerley

This woodland, in north Pembrokeshire, is thousands of years old and has through millennia kept its character, thanks to its mix of ancient oaks and continued pasture use. Grazing has prevented the creation of a thick, dark forest and created a perfect environment for lichens and mosses – and the almost artistic decoration they bring to the landscape.

More than 400 species of lichen have been recorded here, many of which are classed as rare, and it is one of the most profuse sites for them in the British Isles.

©Nigel Summerley

Together, the trees, lichens and mosses make this a magical place for a walk, even when the trees are bare. In fact, early in the year one can appreciate even more the stunning green decorations on the trees and over the ground.

©Nigel Summerley

The woodland of Ty Canol is so old that it was already long established when the nearby Pentre Ifan dolmen (pictured below) was built. This neolithic monument is thought to be either the remains of the entrance to a 3,500BC burial chamber or a set of standing stones whose purpose may never be known.

©Nigel Summerley

Nigel Summerley

Nigel Summerley retired from The Oldie magazine to return to freelance journalism. He previously held executive staff jobs at the London Evening Standard, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Express before freelancing for 20 years for newspapers including The Times, The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Guardian and the ‘i’ paper, plus a wide range of magazines. He continues to write about music, travel and health, and blogs at www.nigel-summerley.blogspot.com.

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