Amelia Trust’s Woodlands, A Natural Asset for the Community and Wildlife

10 July 2023

The semi-ancient woodland at the Amelia Trust Farm near Cardiff is a vast area of about 160 acres with several trails, a pond, a memorial garden and fields that are rented. Exploring it all takes about three hours. The Amelia Trust Farm was opened in 1992 in partnership with the Methodist Church of Wales.

amelia-farm-trust-woodlands-3Within seconds of starting the nature trail in the woodlands, you are greeted by majestic trees and chirping birds. The main nature trail has a more accessible route, so people in wheelchairs or pushchairs can use it. “Many people come to visit the woodlands, including people from care homes. It's really sweet because you just see them pushing, being walked or pushed on the trail,” says Morgan Nicholls who is the Grow Work Skills Tutor & Community Woodland Lead. The other route is more challenging as many trees had a disease and fell; as for the fitness trail, it is well-liked by children.

Bird boxes attached to trees (their entrances reinforced by metal to stop grey squirrels) can be spotted by visitors with a good eye for detail. One of the newest additions to the trail is explanatory panels. “Eventually there will be a QR code that people can scan, which will redirect them to the website to provide them with some information on the animal and plant species that can be found on the trail,” explains Morgan.

Biodiversity studies done recently have shown that the woodlands are full of local species including wood pigeons, 30 different types of birds, five different species of bats, and countless bugs and plants. “There was a bat survey last month to see if we had branch bats, which are quite rare. I was unfortunately too early in the season to have the best results,” adds Morgan. Luckily, the woods have been spared from invasive species.

amelia-farm-trust-woodlands-2Soon, we arrive at Gnome Man's Land, a gnome village created by a couple of volunteers. Not only is the village extremely creative with a bull and an Airbnb, but adapts to the seasons, with spooky characters at Halloween for instance.

Then comes the peaceful memorial garden for families to scatter the ashes of their loved ones and leave plaques, making them part of the community even after their death. “It's really nice that people love the Amelia Trust Farm so much as to have a memorial for a loved one here,” says Morgan. Further down the trail, there are also a few memorial trees but the Woodlands have reached their limits for those.

Home to two ducklings, a terrapin and countless toads, the pond is another highlight of the trail. Quiet, it brings some surprises like the visit of an otter some time ago that was spotted by the camera. The reason for this unlikely visit is that the pond is connected to several local rivers.

Morgan and the woodlands are a well of knowledge for the youth at the Amelia Trust Farm. They learn how to take care of wild animals and woodland conservation, plant new trees and plants, and just enjoy the beauty of nature in all its glory.

The Woodlands are open every day – apart from Christmas – thanks to its dedicated staff, youth people and a team of volunteers.