Gelli-Hir Wood

Wildlife Trust Reserve - Fairwood Common

Gelli-Hir Wood

Gelli-Hir is a partly ancient wood, dating from before the 1600s, which lies on the northern edge of Fairwood Common. It is a mixed broadleaved wood with ash, sweet chestnut, sycamore and beech populating the north and west, and the wet, oak, birch and willow woodland in the south and east. Hazel coppice and holly bushes grow between the larger trees and alder grows along the banks of the Ilston stream. Bluebells, when in bloom, beautifully carpet the southern part of the wood.

The reserve was purchased in October 1967, with help from a grant from the Gower Society, SPNR and WWF; and is managed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales. A dam and pond were built in the 1990's using funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The damp habitat is perfect for many fungi and invertebrates, including some scarcely seen hoverfly species. The blue-tailed damselfly and common darter can be seen around the pond from mid to late summer, along with waterbirds such as mallard, moorhen and the ocassional green sandpiper visit. A bird hide is situated close to the pond. Birds of prey such as buzzard, tawny owl and sparrowhawk breed in the woodland. Species of moths and butterflies include, comma, holly blue, silver-washed fritillary and speckled wood. The wood is also home to dormice.

In recent years the reserve has been utilised as a children's educational environment known as "Forest School", which explores the educational benefits of using outdoor spaces as teaching tools, after outdoor play and learning was researched in Denmark.
The wood can be accessed from the east side of the unclassified road that runs north from the B4271 to Cilonen Road. There is a lay-by opposite and a small car park inside the gate.

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