One of north Pembrokeshire’s most important and ancient forests it to be extended by over 13 acres thanks to a major fund-raising drive by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW).

This means that the ancient oak woodland of Pengelli Forest near Eglwyswrw and the adjoining Pencnwc Mawr Wood will be further expanded to provide the best possible conditions for wildlife and to create links with the nearby woodlands.

"It's been rewarding to see how our supporters and Pengelli's local community have come together to raise the funds to extend our nature reserve,” said Grace Hunt, Digital Fundraising and Communications Officer at WTSWW.

“This would not have been possible without the generous support from WTSWW’s members and charitable trusts."

The Trust has raised £25,000 through its membership appeal, £20,000 from the Swire Charitable Trust and £35,000 donation from the Ecological Restoration Fund.

In 2021, WTSWW was able to buy Pencnwc Mawr Wood and add 33 acres adjacent to Pengelli which is one of the few remaining areas of temperate rainforest in the UK.

“Fragmentation is one of the greatest threats to the survival of our native woodlands,” explained Grace Hunt.

“ There is a simple ecological rule: the smaller and more isolated a woodland becomes the more likely it is that species will become extinct.

"WTSWW’s long-term plan is to significantly extend Pengelli Forest Nature Reserve and by acquiring more land over time, the Trust will manage the area sympathetically to provide the best possible conditions for wildlife, and to create links with other nearby woodlands.”

The Trust will be able to safeguard many vulnerable species, including the rare barbastelle bat, the visiting greater horseshoe bats, breeding populations of dormice, together with the woodland birds and butterflies, particularly the silver-washed fritillary.

This purchase helps towards WTSWW’s ambitious but essential target to restore 30% of land and sea for nature by 2030.

This area has enormous cultural and historical significance. During Elizabethan times it was owned by the famous historian and cartographer George Owen of Henllys, who wrote the first description of Pembrokeshire. In Owen’s time the land was important for timber and cattle grazing.