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Landscape and Wildlife

Landscape and Wildlife

Man’s influence at Margam began in prehistoric times and has been continuous throughout the centuries, so that little within the park can be regarded as being truly natural.

Today the park presents to the naturalist a pattern of plant habitats whose presence can be related to agricultural management and landscape planting.

Broad leaved, coniferous and mixed woodlands, scrub, grassland, bog, lakes and streams provide a diverse countryside, which contrasts vividly with industrial Port Talbot.

Geologically the park lies on the coal measures. The typical vegetation of the coal measures at lower altitude in South Wales its woodland dominated by oak, birch or alder. Before the last was much of this woodland remained within the park and the bare slopes of its eastern end were clothed with woodland.

During the war, the national need for timber led to deforestation of the slopes, and the landscape changed.

The relative freedom from disturbance and the wide variety of habitats have encouraged a diverse and abundant fauna within the park.

Among the more common mammals to be seen are foxes, badgers, hares, grey squirrels, voles and shrews. Moles are abundant on the lower parts of the park, their presence betrayed by molehills.

Occasionally adders may be seen basking in the sun on rocks or short grassy areas. The park supports a rich variety of bird life including common woodland birds like the nuthatch, jay and blue tit and heathland birds such as stonechat and reed bunting.

We are lucky to have a flourishing population of Skylarks in the park as the numbers are sadly decreasing throughout much of the country. Buzzards, Kestrels and occasional Sparrow Hawks may be seen hovering over the park, searching for small mammals.

Mute Swans, Coots, Moorhens, Canadian Geese, Mallard, tufted duck and pochard inhabit the lakes, whilst the patient observer may see kingfishers besides the streams.

© Margam Country Park