Caeau Ffos Fach, Cross Hands, Carmarthenshire

Caeau Ffos Fach, Cross Hands

Species to look out for

A relic of Rhos pastures, which was once widespread on the Coal Measures of South Wales. It is an intimate landscape of wet grassland and heathland bounded by mature hedgerows.

History of the Caeau Ffos Fach Reserve

Butterfly Conservation opened this reserve in 2003.  Much of the land had been managed traditionally without the use of artificial fertilisers and used for grazing cattle and horses, allowing a rich biodiversity to flourish including the Marsh Fritillary.

Description and key features

The reserve is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest and the Mynydd Mawr Special Area of Conservation which is nationally significant for its breeding population of Marsh Fritillary butterflies as well as an example of the dwindling habitat type known as marshy grassland, rush or Rhos Pasture.

There are five fields of low undulating grassland surrounded by mature hedges and trees.  Mainly marshy grassland and heathland, it is managed by controlled grazing to conserve the habitat favoured by the Marsh Fritillary and to benefit Devil’s-bit Scabious, the caterpillars’ food plant. The butterflies usually fly in early summer in warm dry weather

Key species to look out for

Butterflies:   Marsh Fritillary,  Marbled White. 

Moths: Double Line, Small Chocolate-tip, Mother Shipton

Notable plants:  Devil’s-bit Scabious, Meadow thistle, Aspen, Whorled Caraway, Ragged Robin, Sneezewort.

Other wildlife: Dormouse, Grasshopper Warbler.

Management activities

Brush cutting and controlled grazing with traditional breeds of cattle and ponies.

Location and Directions

Post code:                SA14 6SF

Grid reference:      Ordnance Survey Map Reference for site entrance SN576119 

Nearest town:  Ammanford, Carmarthenshire

By Road: From the East: From M4 Pont Abraham Services take the A48 westbound towards Carmarthen. After about 3 1/2 miles take the slip road signed to Cross Hands Retail and Business Park (before the main Crosshands roundabout), turn right at the mini roundabout and go over the bridge across the A48. Go straight across the next mini roundabout and take the next right into Meadows Road (Heol y Waun).

After about 1/4 mile, Meadows Road bends to the left and the reserve is on the left hand side.  Park on the right hand grass verge, beyond the houses.  Please do not block residents’ access. Beware of fast traffic on Meadows Road.

From the West: Take the A48 eastbound to Cross Hands roundabout, take the third exit and continue eastbound towards Swansea for about 1/2 a mile then take the slip road signed to Cross Hands Retail and Business Park. At the mini roundabout go left then next right into Meadows Road  (Heol y Waun). Continue as in directions from the East, above.

Cycling: The National Cycle Network Route 47 passes just north of Cross Hands at Cwm-y-glo.

By Bus:  Buses run from Carmarthen and Ammanford to the village of Cross Hands.  It is about a 1km walk from Cross Hands Post Office to the reserve.

By Rail:  The nearest railway station is at Ammanford.

Please check for up to date to date information on a travel website.

Access and safety

Park on the right hand grass verge beyond the houses. Please do not block residents access. Beware of fast traffic on Meadows Road. There is a stile beside the entrance gate and another just beyond that in to the first field. The ground is wet and tussocky and cattle graze during the summer. Please leave gates as you find them.


Russel Hobson

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  • Telephone: 01792 642972 or 07736 229593

Caeau Ffos Fach leaflet