Bwlch Corog, previously part of Cefn Coch, was acquired for Cambrian Wildwood in May 2017. Coetir Anian hold the land on a 125 year lease from Woodland Trust, who purchased the freehold.
The site is 350 acres (140 hectares) of moorland dominated by purple moor grass (Molinia caerulea) with a relatively small area of ancient woodland alongside two upland streams in the northern corner of the site.
The aim for Bwlch Corog is for native woodland to colonise naturally. This will be assisted by planting 8,000 native trees in small groups across the site, to provide a seed source in this relatively treeless upland landscape, and to bring back tree species that are no longer present locally but used to grow here. We envisage that the existing woodland will spread into the bracken and up the slopes, with scattered trees on the moorland. Other initial work has included the blocking of drainage grips throughout the 12km network criss-crossing the site. The large swathes of purple moor grass will revert to blanket bog and heather moorland, some of which will be mixed with native woodland or occasional trees.
The site was not grazed for about six years, prior to our acquisition. We introduced wild horses in April and June 2018 and now have a herd of 12 roaming the land – 1 stallion, 3 mares, 4 fillies, 3 foals and a colt. During the summer months, Highland Cattle join the horses to assist with grazing. Other large herbivores are a longer term plan and subject to proper investigation of the appropriateness and practicalities.
Restoration of habitats will offer the right conditions for bringing back some of the lost animal species. This may be achieved by natural colonisation, for example it is expected that bird species will be attracted to the area as the habitats are restored. We will also consider reintroduction programmes, following detailed research into feasibility. These could include water vole (Arvicola terrestris) and red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris.) The remnant population of pine marten in Wales has been boosted by the introduction of 51 animals from Scotland over the last three years, with the release sites not far from the Cambrian Wildwood site.
Initial surveys to see what birds, mammals, plants and invertebrates are present have been carried out, these provide baseline data to see how things change over the years.
We have improved the paths and created new paths across the moorland to facilitate access on foot and horseback.
Bwlch Corog and the Living Wales Project
Our site at Bwlch Corog has been included in the Living Wales project which “aims to capture the state and dynamics of Wales’s landscape, in near real time, historically and into the future (over the long term) through integration of earth observation data, supportive ground measurements and process models.”
Using photographer Mike Kay’s geo-referenced photos of Bwlch Corog, researchers at Aberystwyth University have located some of the 500 baseline photos on their Earth Track geo-portal.
What’s in a name?
After doing a fair bit of research, we think that we’ve found a definitive explanation for the name Bwlch Corog.
‘Bwlch’ is defined simply as a gap or pass.
However, ‘Corog’ was a little more difficult to work out. It seems that the name was originally Corf, not Corog – Corf being the name of a stream. Reference is made to it in ‘The Place Names of Cardiganshire.’
There is also a record of the name which goes back to the time of the princes.
But why do we now use ‘Corog’? Orally Corf changed to Corof and then to Coro (these would be quite natural changes). Then a -g was added (which is unusual but can happen). That’s what gives Corog.
So ‘Corog’ as such has no meaning – it’s ultimately a development of Corf. The dictionary definition for Corf is ‘a wooded precipice by a river.’
Therefore, Bwlch Corog means ‘pass of the wooded precipice by a river.’
Bwlch Corog documents