What is ‘special’ about Cadnant Dingle SSSI?

Cadnant Dingle has 2 special features.

As well as the features listed above, Cadnant Dingle has other habitats that contribute to the special interest. These include the Afon Cadnant and associated streams. This mixture of habitats is important for much of the wildlife, including its potential for the re-establishment of red squirrel and these too are key components of the special interest of the site. Unless specified below, management of this site should aim to look after these habitats as well as the listed features of interest.

What do we want Cadnant Dingle to look like?

The woodland has a canopy composed of 75% native broadleaved woodland trees. This percentage should not decrease, but may increase at the expense of conifers, beech, sycamore and bracken. The woodland should develop a diverse structure with mature and ancient trees, natural regeneration and canopy gaps. Deadwood, including standing trees, should be retained for fungi and invertebrates which are components of natural woodland. The site should support the present diversity of mosses and liverworts and constitute suitable habitat for a restored red squirrel population.

What management is needed on Cadnant Dingle SSSI and why?

Although Cadnant Dingle is an excellent place for wildlife it will only remain so if the necessary management continues. CCW’s aim is to work with you to ensure that this management is carried out.

What does this mean in practice?

There are many factors that could damage the special features at Cadnant Dingle if they are not properly managed. These are the ones we regard as most important:


Laurel forms a dense shading canopy which smothers ground flora preventing tree regeneration. It should be eradicated from the site.

Other non-native species

Non-native trees, such as beech and conifers, can alter the ground flora and suppress regeneration. Areas of conifers may be cleared to allow regeneration of native species such as oak and hazel. Sycamore seedlings may grow prolifically in disturbed areas. Control of sycamore and other non-native species regeneration may therefore be necessary, in areas of ground disturbance e.g. following laurel control or clearance of conifers.


Low levels of sheep grazing can be beneficial to lower plants (bryophytes and lichens) in woodland. Without it, vigorous vegetation (e.g. tussocks of grass, holly and ivy, dense bilberry) can reduce the abundance of lower-plants through competition. Although the wood is stock proof, accidental grazing has occurred in the past and has helped maintain the lower-plant interest without adversely affecting tree regeneration. On occasion it may be beneficial to introduce low level grazing or moderate grazing for a short period.

Restoration of conifer-planted ancient woodland areas

Restoration of semi natural woodland to these areas should be achieved through using a “continuous-cover” system whereby the canopy is removed gradually and new trees established before remaining conifers are felled. This maintains shaded woodland conditions, prevents weed growth and sudden changes in microclimate, gives retained trees time to stabilise and allows ancient woodland communities to keep pace. Phased tree removal and natural regeneration helps develop a wood with trees of varying ages.

Dead Wood Management

Dead and decaying wood should be retained in the wood. Where possible standing dead trees should be allowed to fall naturally. Deadwood is important for its invertebrates, mosses, liverworts and fungi and is essential to restoring woodland soil nutrients.


Mosses and liverworts require high humidity levels and a drop in humidity may damage them. Humidity may be affected by reductions in watercourse flows, excessive opening of canopy cover, or loss of adjacent woodland cover. Within Cadnant Dingle, the distribution of bryophyte species reflects the humidity within the valley, which is enhanced by mist and spray. The supply of water should not be reduced by water abstraction from the stream since it could lead to a loss of humidity-sensitive species or contraction of their range.

Woodland Linkage

Many woodland species survive in isolated sub-populations that are vulnerable to chance events. Connecting woodland habitats through the creation and enhancement of a network of woody corridors is essential to the long-term conservation of woodland wildlife. Creating a wooded link to the nearby copse should be considered.


Our knowledge of wildlife is far from complete. It is possible that new features of value may appear and new management issues may arise in the future, whilst other issues may disappear. This statement is written with the best information we have now, but may have to change in the future as our understanding improves. Any information you can provide on the wildlife of your site, its management and its conservation would be much appreciated.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of your SSSI, or have any concerns about your SSSI, please contact your local CCW office.

Your local office is;

Cyngor Cefn Gwlad Cymru/Countryside Council for Wales

North Region

Llys y Bont,

Ffordd y Parc,

Parc Menai,


Gwynedd, LL57 4BN,

Telephone: 01248 672500

Fax: 01248 679259