Craig yr Aderyn (Bird’s Rock) juts sharply out of the Dysynni valley, rising to a height of over 250 metres above sea level. It consists of rocky crags, acid grassland, heath and bracken. This impressive rock outcrop lies entirely within the Craig yr Aderyn Site of Special Scientific Interest and owes its namesake and popularity to the large number of birds which nest on it.
Indeed, Craig yr Aderyn is renowned for its bird population and is believed to support the only regular inland breeding colony of Cormorant in Wales. Over 60 pairs of Cormorant nest on the crags, which represents around 1% of Britain’s breeding population. However it is the Chough, an increasingly rare bird in Britain, which elevates Craig yr Aderyn to a site of international importance and affirms its designation as a Special Protection Area.
As well as being an important breeding location, it is also a roosting site for chough throughout the year. Non-breeders roost during the summer and traditionally high numbers are observed outside the breeding season. Birds using this site largely originate from Ceredigion and Montgomeryshire. A variety of other breeding bird species frequent the rock face, including Barn Owl, Redstart, Peregrine Falcon, Wheatear, Linnet and Little Owl.
To the north and east of the crags, lies a large expanse of unimproved acid grassland interspersed with bracken. Maintaining a short sward of this grassland is one of the major factors influencing the number of breeding and roosting birds, as it provides a vital feeding area.
Towards the south-eastern part of the site, acidic, dry heathland dominates. Above Gesail, a small stretch of base-rich marshy grassland enhances the plant diversity with species such as common butterwort, many-stalked spike-rush and pale sedge, as well as mosses including Yellow Starry Feather-moss.
Not only is Craig yr Aderyn enriched with wildlife, it is also historically and culturally significant, with the summit occupied by a small hill fort thought to originate from the Iron Age. Nearby, you will find the ruins of Castell y Bere, a castle built in the 13th century by the Princes of Gwynedd. According to local folklore, during the Middle Ages two castle watchtowers stood on top of the fort, and were used to warn Castell y Bere of approaching danger.
Craig yr Aderyn is popular with climbers and has some of the best climbing in Meirionydd. A small car park is located by the roadside at the foot of the hill. The climb up the hill is steep but short, with a good footpath available around the back of the hill.
|Craig yr Aderyn is a particularly special wildlife area as it part of the Snowdonia Centre of Excellence. This is a is a £4 million project creating and developing the best outdoor adventure opportunities the sector can offer through four key sites.
These four outdoor activity centres include Antur Stiniog downhill mountain bike trails, Coed y Brenin mountain bike centre, Glan Llyn multi activity centre and Prysor Angling at Llyn Trawsfynydd. The project is nearing completion and some exciting developments have been happening at each of the four sites. Click here
to find out more.