Gwaith Powdwr Nature Reserve, Penrhyndeudraeth, North Wales

Just a few miles up the road from our house is a Nature Reserve with a very interesting history. Gwaith Powdwr translates, literally, as Powder Works as, in 1865 the site first opened as an explosives factory – primarily to serve the local mining industry.

However, in 1995 the factory was closed and, after decommissioning the plant, in 1998 the land was donated to the North Wales Wildlife Trust and turned into a Nature Reserve. Wandering around the area today, there is only a little evidence of its past and it has become a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as well as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Within the 24 hectares (or one tenth of a square mile or a quarter of a square kilometre), there’s a (very) small reservoir and I’d heard that there were dragonflies to be found, so off I went… Sadly the dragonflies flew around and around defending their territories and simply refused to land, but I did capture one damselfly (not sure if it’s a Common or Azure Bluet or, indeed, something else) and a Common Spreadwing (which is a first for me and this site! 😊)

No doubt I will return later in the summer to try my luck again.

13 thoughts on “Gwaith Powdwr Nature Reserve, Penrhyndeudraeth, North Wales

  1. The 1st damsel is an Azure (Coenagrion puella) we don’t use the bluet name in the UK likewise it’s an Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa) not a spreadwing (bit of an American term).
    Looks a nice little site Mike, worth a few more visits!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Brian, I was hoping you would put me right. I find them devilishly difficult to identify, even with my Wild Guide book (“Europe’s Dragonflies” which seems to be supported by the British Dragonfly Society, so I’m surprised they are using those ‘other’ terms). But no matter. Thanks again for your feedback.

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      • Yes they are really tricky even though there can only be a handful to chose from, small as well which doesn’t help when the eyesight is not as good as it was! If in doubt get a decent photo and check on-line.
        I’ll forgive the mis-naming this time, you wouldn’t get away with it in the fb group I’m in, just remember what Country you are living in now! πŸ€”πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‰

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  2. A nature reserve looks a much beter destiny than a powder plant πŸ™‚
    Best way to capture dragonflies is eary in the morning when it’s still colder… so look for the places where they hide during the night and return early. If you’re lucky, you can catch them with dew drops on their wings too.

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    • Absolutely. I’m impressed that they turned the whole (albeit small) site into a nature reserve. But then again who would buy an ex-explosive site for development? (It seems there were a few ‘accidents’ over the years. So perhaps we’re all much safer for it!

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  3. This looks like an interesting place to visit again. I enjoyed the conversation above about the names πŸ™‚ Here, so many names of birds have changed – and get changed again – that I tend to stick with the ones I remember best πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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  4. Dragonflies that fly around and refuse to stop can be a little annoying. But, you managed to capture a couple of really beautiful ones. Sure you have to return to the site for new attempts. It seems like a nice area to walk around with the camera. πŸ™‚

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