MAPS : LR 124; Leisure Map 23; grid ref : SH 715245
The reserve at Coed Ganllwyd includes a steep wooded gorge with high tumbling waterfalls. The main attraction for many are the spectacular Black Falls or Rhaeadr Ddu on the Afon Gamlan.
The woodland forms part of a larger Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is part of the Coedydd Derw a Safleoedd Ystlumod Meirion/ Meirionnydd Oak woods and Bat Sites Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
The wet climate that feeds the falls also provides the moist conditions in the gorge to make this the richest site for mosses and liveworts in north west Europe. The rocks and treetrunks are festooned with the green and grey growths of these lowly plants.
The trees largely escaped the fellings through two world wars and survive as an excellent example of the ancient oak woodland of this part of Wales. But it was used and managed woodland nonethless, with the large trees once being favoured for ship and house building, while the smaller coppiced poles found a multitude of agricultural uses or were burnt for charcoal. Oak bark was harvested for tanning on a large scale.
These old trees and their descendants are home each summer to that most distinctive of Welsh woodland migrants, the pied flycatcher and a host of other woodland birds. This reflects a plentiful food supply, particularly of insects, though jays are partial to acorns. The uncommon brimstone butterfly is found on the Dolmelynllyn estate in association with its food plant, the alder buckthorn.