Clyne Valley Country Park
Clyne Valley Country Park is the city's only country park. Within its 700 acres you will find a varied landscape ranging from open and wooded hillsides, steep gorges and quarries to meadowland and wet valley floor.
This varied landscape provides a range of habitats for a great diversity of plants and animals. A number of different woodland types can be seen: dense oak, birchwoods and spacious beechwoods.
Bird life is abundant: common types such as wagtails, wrens, nuthatches, robins and woodpeckers can be found together with the more unusual nightjars, blackcaps and buzzards. Small mammals in the area include grey squirrels, badgers and foxes.
A number of quarries remain. In particular Clyne Quarry in the north not only provides spectacular views but is of considerable geological interest.
Water is also an attractive element of the park. The Clyne River weaves through the area and there are a number of attractive lakes and ponds. In addition there are a number of manmade water courses.
Until recently Clyne Valley was an important area of industrial activity. Much industrial heritage is still visible within the park. Coal mining was the initial industry in the valley, starting as early as 1305, although it was not until the sixteenth centuries that large scale coal working occurred. This took the form of Bell Pits, a hazardous method of working, which involved the digging out of a cavern as large as possible without causing roof collapse. These can be seen in particular in Clyne Woods on the western slopes of the valley. These were followed by larger pits such as the Clyne and Ynys Collieries. At this latter mine an old winding engine remains.
The growth of the coal industry couple with local raw materials led to the growth of related industry. An ironworks was built near Clyne Quarry in the north and a Chemical Works operated off Mill Lane in the south, substantial elements of which remain.
A brickmaking industry thrived from the early nineteenth century until well into the twentieth, the final works being demolished in 1950.
The industrial activity required transport. A tramway connecting with Mumbles Railway was built in 1804 and a network of railway lines followed. A number of canals were also built, many remains of which are still clear today.
The old London Midland Scottish railway from Swansea Victoria to Shrewsbury passed through the valley. Its trackbed now forms the park's main footpath and cycleway.
- Part of the site is in Gower Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
- Killay Marsh Local Nature Reserve lies within the boundary of the park
- Clyne Wood Arsenic and Copper Mine
- Clyne Wood Coal Level
- Clyne Valley Shaft and Mounds
- Ynys Pit and Leat
- Clyne Wood Colliery Steam Winding Gear
- BMX Pump Track
- and play area (access off Ynys Newydd Road)
- Clyne Valley Orchard (access off Ynys Newydd Road)
- There is a permanent orienteering course in Clyne Valley. Free and open to access at all times.
- Parking - see access information below
- Toilets nearby (opposite parking on Mumbles Road) at Blackpill Lido
- Café (The Junction) nearby adjacent to Blackpill Lido
- Pubs: The Railway Inn in Upper Killay and The Woodman off Mumbles Road
Grid Reference SS610915
OS Explorer Map 165 Swansea/Abertawe
There are a several pedestrian access points to this country park including (starting from south working anti-clockwise around park):
- Off Mill Lane in Blackpill (Off Mumbles Road A 4067)
- Mumbles Road (A4067) in Blackpill
- Derwen Fawr Road (south)
- Ynys Newydd Road (off Derwen Fawr Road B4436)
- Off Aneurin Way
- Olchfa Lane off Gower Road on west side of Olchfa School
- From Woodside Avenue off Gower Road in Killay
- From Clyne Valley Road off Gower Road in Upper Killay
- Off Gower Road by the Railway Inn in Upper Killay
There is a network of footpaths around the site.
There are two main car parks - off B436 adjacent to A4067 Mumbles Road or on Ynys Newydd Road adjacent to Derwen Fawr Civic Amenity Site off B436. There is also a small car park adjacent to the Railway Inn in Upper Killay.
Bus stops near access points in Killay, Blackpill, off Aneurin Way/Rhyd-Y-Defaid Drive, by Olchfa School (Gower Road).
Cycle track 4 of the National Cycleway Network follows the old railway line through the Park running from Blackpill through to Killay, Gowerton, Loughor and beyond.
Several bridlepaths run through the park.
Frequently asked questions
What are you doing to support wildlife in the country park?
Globally, nationally and locally wildlife is not as abundant as it once was, and this is reflected in Swansea's natural spaces. The reasons for loss are well documented and include climate change, habitat fragmentation, habitat loss, habitat degradation, persecution etc. Clyne Valley Country Park does support an interesting range of wildlife, but without accurate monitoring it is not possible to say whether it was more abundant in the past than it is now. Certainly some species that were once present have not been recently seen, such as marsh fritillary butterfly which was once present in the Killay Marsh Local Nature Reserve within the country park. Work has recently started on removing some of the scrub in the reserve, which will create suitable habitat for a number of invertebrate species, possibly even marsh fritillary butterfly.
Within the wider Park, a number of wildlife boxes have recently been installed for dippers, owls (tawny and barn), passerines, bats and hedgehogs, all are known to be present in the Country Park. Otters forage for brown trout in the Clyne River and kingfisher are spotted hunting over the fishing pond. The Country Park also is resident to a species of slime mould found nowhere else in the world, not glamourous but certainly incredible! These are just some of the species resident in the Country Park.
Swansea Council aim to retain a range of habitats within the Country Park, and while there are already a diverse range, there is work to be done to increase their biodiversity and their resilience to change.
What's going on with Clyne River?
Swansea Council are working with Natural Resources Wales who are conducting a study into ways to make the Clyne River more able to deal with high rainfall events as well as what measures can be undertaken to help remediate the pollution in the river from the landfill and possibly the historic mine workings. Many visitors notice the bright orange iron leachate which smothers some of the watercourses in the Park. This is not at all toxic, but it is an issue as it smothers fish eggs causing them to die off.
Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam can be seen in the country park, what are you doing to stop it?
In 2021 and 2022 Clyne Valley Community Project conducted a full survey of the entire country park and mapped the instances of Japanese knotweed. Swansea Council has secured three years of funding from Welsh Government to treat it. The first year of treatment was in 2022. One application is made in the autumn before the plant enters into winter dormancy. It is anticipated that there will be a reduction in extent and vigour each spring. There is the potential for needing more than three years-worth of treatment, and Swansea Council will seek to secure funding to continue treatment if this is the case.
Please do not cut, trample or otherwise interfere with Japanese knotweed, by doing so this limits the effectiveness of the herbicide thereby making the treatment period longer, more expensive and less likely to succeed. The plants must be healthy so they draw the herbicide into their deep root systems and kill off the entire plant, not just the above-ground parts.
Himalayan balsam while easy to remove (cutting or pulling), can easily re-infest an area. This is because the seeds are mostly transported by water, hence it being present most densely along watercourses. The seeds can persist in the soil for 18 months. So to be successful (i.e. have no re-infestation of the area) any control programme must include the entire watercourse catchment and be undertaken consistently and completely for 2 - 3 years. Permission would need to be secured from private landowners outside of the Country Park. This is no minor undertaking given the extent of work involved. However, Swansea Council will be looking into the viability of a control programme once we have completed the Japanese knotweed treatment.
There is deadwood and cut scrub everywhere - why?
Where we are able to, fallen and cut scrub and trees are taken off site or processed on site to create habitat piles. Budget and resource limitations mean that it is not always possible to do so. However, the habitats in the country park are extensive and are not significantly affected by leaving cut material at the path boundaries.
Many of the trees in the beech plantation are nearing their end-of-life. Once a tree dies, the canopy opens allowing light to penetrate the floor where dormant seeds spring into life. We try to leave as much standing deadwood as is safe to do so. Both fallen and standing deadwood are important component parts of a woodland providing habitats for numerous species and encouraging a healthy, well-balanced woodland ecosystem.
There's a lot of ivy and bramble in the country park, what's being done to control it?
Ivy is an important habitat and resource for many species - dense ivy provides roosting habitat for crevice-dwelling bats and in autumn provides a late-nectar source for many invertebrates. While there might be pockets of dense ivy growth in the country park, there are far more areas where it is not present or present infrequently; its presence within the country park is evidence of a healthy woodland ecosystem. However, to preserve the old apple trees at Ynys Newydd some work has been undertaken to remove the ivy and take off some of the lower branches. So where appropriate to do so, remedial work will be undertaken.
Bramble is an extremely valuable habitat and resource for woodland species - providing nesting habitat for birds and small mammals, and food sources and shelter for almost all species. There are pockets where bramble is dense and areas where it is absent or occurs infrequently; maintaining this diversity is incredibly important. However, bramble can become a nuisance, for example, by invading important grassland areas. Where this is the case the council is seeking to cut it back to allow a diversity of habitats to occur.
What can I do to help?
Please do not undertake any habitat management in the Country Park yourself. While well-meaning, actions can sometimes be misinformed and cause more harm than good.
If you are interested and are able, make contact with Clyne Valley Community Project (CVCP) who undertake all sorts of controlled management activities in the Park. They work closely with Swansea Council to make sure activities are appropriate. CVCP has a website and Facebook page.
Link up with Swansea's Local Nature Partnership and/or the Nature Conservation Team Volunteer Coordinator who promote biodiversity events and activities in the county of Swansea such as bioblitz's, wildlife walks and tree planting.