The West Wales Region

WWBIC region

This map shows the WWBIC region comprising the counties of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

The part of the Brecon Beacons National Park which extends in to the east part of Carmarthenshire is not included as it is covered by the Biodiversity Information Service (BIS) for Powys and the Brecon Beacons National Park.

The West Wales Region has a wealth of protected sites including Wales’ only Biosphere reserve, the Dyfi Estuary, bordering Ceredigion and Gwynedd, and the only Marine Nature Reserve, around the island of Skomer off the Pembrokeshire coast.

Biodiversity in Carmarthenshire
Biodiversity in Ceredigion
Biodiversity in Pembrokeshire

Carmarthenshire contains highly significant habitats for our region. The estuarine systems of Carmarthen Bay and Burry Inlet, coastal grasslands and marshlands are important sites for migrating birds and the invertebrates on which they feed.  The open waters of Carmarthen Bay are an overwintering site for almost half the UK population of Common Scoter duck.  Inland, the River Towy Valley and large forested habitats in the uplands are home to a variety of mammals including the Eurasian Red Squirrel and Pine Marten.  Open moors, heath, marshland and raised bog are vital to a host of plants and invertebrate species such as the marsh fritillary butterfly and the rare black bog ant.  Many of these habitats are statutory designated sites.

The Carmarthenshire Biodiversity Partnership actively conserves these habitats and certain species. Access biodiversity pages on Carmarthenshire County Council’s website. The coordinator of the Partnership is Isabel Macho.

Ceredigion has a wide range of important habitats and wildlife, including one of only two biosphere reserves in the UK, the Dyfi estuary.  Inland there are similar habitats to neighbouring Carmarthenshire with extensive areas of moor, damp heath and raised bog.  Ceredigion was important in the early stages of the Red Kite conservation success and on the coast there are significant populations of chough.

Cardigan Bay (a marine Special Area of Conservation) supports harbour porpoise, bottlenose dophin and atlantic grey seal.   The Ceredigion Biodiversity Partnership actively conserves these habitats and certain species. Access coast and countryside pages on Ceredigion County Council’s website.

Pembrokeshire is internationally important for many of its coastal, marine and lowland heath, freshwater and woodland habitats.  These habitats support a large number of species, some of which occur only in Pembrokeshire, or species for which the county is one of only a handful of sites where they occur in the UK or Europe. Some protected species such as bats and barn owl, are not restricted to designated sites or key habitats and are closely associated with man-made structures. Other species such as seabirds and choughs, contribute to the local distinctiveness of Pembrokeshire and are good “indicators” of the general health of the environment.

The international and national significance of Pembrokeshire’s biodiversity is reflected by the fact that about 6% of the total land area is within Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), there are eight National Nature Reserves. There are a number of Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and several terrestrial Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) designated under the EU Birds Directive and Habitats and Species Directive.

The coastline and marine ecosystems are of key importance in Pembrokeshire, with the 259 km long coastline, the majority of which lies within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. The landscape ranges from the stunning coastline to open hills, valleys and woodland and secluded tree-lined rivers.  The coastal waters protected around Pembrokeshire include Skomer Marine Nature Reserve and three marine Special Areas of Conservation (SACs).  The protection of areas both within and beyond these designated sites is even more vital than in terrestrial habitats to ensure the marine biodiversity is maintained and enhanced.

Pembrokeshire is therefore extremely important for rare species and habitats of national and international importance.  However the wider landscape of farmland and urban spaces is of vital importance for the more common species and habitats and they contribute significantly to the maintenance of all biodiversity within the county.  Wildlife corridors situated in built up areas or in areas used intensively for agriculture provide important continuous areas for the movement of plants and animals. Lowlands, grasslands, rivers, reservoirs and even buildings can all contribute to biodiversity.  The more familiar hedgerow flowers and garden birds are also more visible “indicators” of the general health of wildlife and habitats.

The Pembrokeshire Biodiversity Partnership actively conserves these habitats and certain species. The coordinator of the Partnership is Ant Rogers.