How the Valley was formed
The inspiring landscape was carved by glaciers in the last Ice Age. People have probably lived here since the ice melted some 8,000 years ago, changing the landscape in many different ways. Little remains of the early settlers, although budding archaeologists can have fun looking.
Later, Medieval farmers cleared much of the valley woodland for fields and during the Industrial Revolution the valley changed again. The rural backwater was transformed into an industrial landscape of coalmines, smoke and spoil tips. But wildlife lived on and when the pits closed, nature reclaimed its pride of place.
The wildlife that lives here in Dare Valley Country Park is amazing.The rocks and soil, the history and climate, the landscape and people all contribute. In a small area there are many different kinds of habitat and lots to see. The flowery grassland, heath, bracken slopes, crags and scree, upland bog, moorland, woodland, coal spoil, stream and lakes all provide habitat for wildlife.
From the swallows and house sparrows that nest in the courtyard to the peregrine falcons that hunt from the heights, this is a bird watcher's paradise. You can watch the bird table from the visitor centre, spot the nest boxes in the wood or take your binoculars to the viewing platform. Listen for the call of the cuckoo over the cwm or glimpse the colourful flash of the kingfisher by the stream. There are song birds, water-birds and birds of prey, common blackbirds and rare ring ouzels. It's a great place for beginner bird watchers and for expert twitchers. And it's not just the birds. Whether you are interested in trees or flowers, lichens or fungi, lizards or slowworms, spiders or sticklebacks, moths or butterflies, bats or bumblebees; they're all here. Special treats for naturalists include a trio of butterflies: small pearl bordered fritillary, purple hairstreak and grayling and the lichen heath on the undisturbed coal spoil.
You don't need to know the names to appreciate and enjoy the wonder and beauty of nature. The variety of colours, shapes, sounds and sensations, the changes through the seasons and just being in the green outdoors is a great tonic.
We are always interested in what you see. There is so much to learn about the habitats in the Country Park and the surrounding area. You may see something no one has noticed before or your records may help to show how things change from year to year.
The valley of the river Dare is a world apart. Within walking distance of the lively town of Aberdare, you are surrounded by nature. The dramatic landscape of Cwm Dare encloses a Country Park where you can explore at will. You can stroll along surfaced paths to the lakes, walk through woods and fields, or hike to the top of the crags for breathtaking views.
The rocks and soil, the history and climate, the landscape and people all contribute. In a small area there are many different kinds of habitat and lots to see. The flowery grassland, heath, bracken slopes, crags and scree, upland bog, moorland, woodland, coal spoil, stream and lakes all provide habitat for wildlife.
You don't need to know the names to appreciate and enjoy the wonder and beauty of nature.