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17 September 2014
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Wetlands - Teifi Marshes

Buffalo territory

Water Buffalo c/o Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and Mike Snow)

Teifi Marsh is without doubt one of the best wetland reserves in Wales. It's also one of the places in the UK to enjoy a close encounter with the resident Water Buffalo.

Teifi Marshes - Water Buffalo.
Photo -Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and Mike Snow.

Demoiselle c/o Mike Snow and Wildlife Trust of S & W WalesThe huge Teifi Marshes reserve at Cilgerran extends over some 100 hectares.

The great thing about Teifi is the sheer range of flora and fauna, from Water Buffalo and waders to wetland plants and woodland birds.

The reserve is located on the floor of a pre-glacial channel which was left by the original course of the River Teifi.

This channel is now occupied by the River Piliau, which meanders through the marshes in a deep, narrow cut.

There are a wide range of habitats, hence the diversity of wildlife, from pasture and wooded hedgerows to freshwater marsh and reedbeds to tidal mudbanks.

Where the Buffalo roam

Water BuffaloTeifi is also home to a surprising creature - the Water Buffalo.

The animal is doing its bit for wetland conservation, simply be grazing the marshes in a way that prevents the habitat becoming overgrown.

Asian Water Buffalo are great grazers - their horns help to break up unwanted scrub with the result that they keep the marshland as fen and swamp.

These animals are happy to graze on everything, even in watery areas which require them to submerge themselves below the water.

By contrast, cows and sheep are picky eaters who avoid the wetter areas so the Water Buffalo have proved to be the ideal solution to maintaining the wetland's eco-system.

Wetlands are increasingly being lost to development and land drainage so the Water Buffalo are helping to keep one of our most threatened habitats in top condition.

Birds, Bugs and Badgers

Kingfisher c/o RSPBThe Teifi reserve is also home to a large number of birds such as Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers, Cetti's Warblers, Kingfishers, Marsh Harriers and even Red Kites.

There's even the chance of spotting an Otter, although these elusive creatures are most likely to appear early morning or evening.

If you can't see one on the reserve, you might stand a better chance of catching this creature on CCTV courtesy of a micro-camera link-up to a holt.

Another shy creature which tend to come out at dusk is the Badger which can sometimes be glimpsed at Teifi.

The reserve is also alive with insects during the summer months, including 17 different species of Dragonfly.

Wildlife experience

Water Vole c/o PA ImagesThe stunning Welsh Wildlife Centre stands on the banks of the River Teifi and overlooks the marshes.

The building won an award for architectural design in 1993 when it opened, and still astonishes the visiting public today.

It is built mainly of wood and glass and enjoys panoramic views over the Teifi River, the town of Cardigan and nearby woodland.

Other wildlife to look out for during a trip to the reserve around the centre are Water Voles and Sika Deer.

Photo credits

Teifi c/o WTSSWWTeifi photographs copyright and courtesy of the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and Mike Snow.

Kingfisher copyright and courtesy of RSPB Images.

Water Vole copyright of PA Images.



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