About Gwaith Powdwr Reserve
A fantastic post-industrial nature reserve with an explosive history. Gwaith Powdwr, (English: Powder Works), situated in Penrhyndeudraeth, Wales, is a decommissioned explosives works now managed as a Wildlife Nature Reserve.
From 1865 until 1995 this corner of West Wales was world-renowned for its explosives expertise. The remote location and natural, steep-sided valleys made it the perfect place for a specialist factory which, at its height, employed over 500 people. During the Second World War, over 17 million grenades were produced at this site! The Wildlife Trust took over the site when it was decommissioned – since then, it’s nature that has exploded …
Today, wandering through the lovely mixture of habitats and gazing out at the spectacular views, it’s hard to imagine the site’s industrial history. The woodland provides homes to nesting redstarts, pied flycatchers and tree pipits and, on a summer day, the grassy glades are great places to spot butterflies and wildflowers. The heathland that covers the higher ground hides secretive nightjars and basking reptiles: four of the six UK reptile species are commonly seen here. The site’s industrial past has provided perfect habitats for its most significant residents, the lesser horseshoe bats, who make their homes in the old buildings and tunnels.