Parc Slip nature reserve
Parc Slip nature reserve, near Cefn Cribwr
This reserve occupies land that was once part of the Parc Slip coal mine, which opened in the 1860s. It was a drift mine – the underground coal seams were reached by a sloping tunnel rather than a vertical shaft. It was owned by the Ogmore Coal and Iron Company until 1889, and then by North's Navigation Company. By the early 1980s, almost 200 miners hacked c.300 tons of coal per day from two faces on the Cribwr coal seam.
In August 1892 an explosion in the mine killed 112 men and boys. More than 40 miners reached the surface alive, but some died of their injuries. A relief fund raised money to help the bereaved families.
From the 1960s, the landscape was further transformed by open-cast coal mining (stripping away the material above the coal). British Coal Opencast then began to restore the site as farmland, recreational areas and wildlife habitats, with guidance from Glamorgan Wildlife Trust. In 1999 the site was handed to the Trust.
Today the nature reserve is managed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales. Within its 1.2 square kilometres (305 acres) are woodlands, wetlands and meadow. Rare species to look out for include brown hare, lapwing, adder, brown banded bee, shrill carder bee and great crested newt. The ponds support 20 species of dragonfly and 26 of butterfly, while also attracting wildfowl such as little grebe, tufted duck, goosander and pochard.
Facilities for visitors include bird hides, a visitor centre and paths accessible to wheelchairs. Route 4 of the National Cycle Network passes through the site.
Postcode: CF32 0EH