Walk with Mary Gillham November 2016: Draethen Woodlands


As part of the Heritage Lottery Funded project A Dedicated Naturalist: the Dr Mary Gillham Archive Project, we will be highlighting some of the sites in south east Wales visited and surveyed by esteemed local ecologist, Dr Mary Gillham MBE.

Dr Gillham spent a huge amount of time exploring South Wales and recording all of the species she found in different locations, sometimes for personal interest, sometimes whilst educating a group of extra mural students and sometimes to record what species and habitats were present in order to provide evidence for protecting an area. In this series of 'Walks with Mary Gillham' we will provide you with details of the surveys she undertook and the species she recorded. We would love to get an up-to-date species list so we can compare the two - will you find as much as Mary? Has the species composition changed drastically? Can you add new species to the list?

Walk four: Draethen Woodlands


Click map to enlarge

Site centre: ST20598662
Site entrance: ST20808707

A series of ex-Forestry Commission plots now managed by Natural Resources Wales. There are also a number of former lead mining sites and surface workings which date back as far as the Romans. According to Mary "The underlying rock is Dolomite or Magnesium Limestone of Carboniferous age and contains galena or lead ore in workable amounts, together with barytes, iron pyrites and other minerals which can be picked on the paths".

Mary visited these woods on a number of occasions and recorded over 90 different species of fungi (as well as loads and loads other species).

Take a look at our pdf about the site, including a list of records, which were identified predominantly by Dr A. R. "Roy" Perry, one of Mary's contemporaries who worked at the National Museum in Cardiff. Mary and Roy worked together on many occasions and lots of the documents in Mary's archives bear the markings 'recorded by' or 'determined by' Roy Perry. Some of the other records were recorded by Rob and Linda Nottage and were collected as part of excursions with the Cardiff Naturalists' Trust and the Glamorgan Naturalists' Trust.

You can see some of Mary's photographs of the site on this blog post.

This month we have arranged a joint event with Glamorgan Fungus Group and WTSWW at Draethen Woodlands, to walk together in the footsteps of Dr Gillham. This will be held on Sunday 6th November from 10am. We would be delighted if you could and join us for this event or visit the site during your own time.

Please submit your records online here: http://www.sewbrecord.org.uk/Mary_Gillham (please note, you will need to be logged into SEWBReCORD to use this link). Alternatively, please download this Excel recording form and return your records by email to dedicated.naturalist@sewbrec.org.uk.


Notes about Walks with Mary Gillham:

  • Please take a common sense approach to recording at these sites. We do not advocate any form of trespassing, and please do not take any risks with regards your own health and safety.
  • All records are welcome, even the most common of species!
  • For a record to be useful, we will need the following information: recorder's name; date recorded; location name; grid reference (ideally 6 figures or more); species name. Please feel free to include extra information or photos.