Cors Caron is one of the most important raised peat bogs in Britain. It covers an area of 870 hectares to the north of Tregaron, and is a rare habitat sustaining a diversity of plant and animal life. The bog was designated a nature reserve in 1955 and is now owned and Managed by Natural Resources Wales.
Cors Caron was formed around 12,000 years ago with the melting of glaciers at the end of the last ice age. A shallow lake formed behind a terminal moraine left by the glacier. The lake then slowly filled with sediment and vegetation, which eventually formed the peat that would be extracted from the bog by the human population until into the 1960s. The peat was even a source of fuel for the abbey at Strata Florida during its operation.
The bog can be divided into three sections: two to the east of the Teifi and one on the western side. It is those to the east have been extensively worked in the extraction of peat. Below the peat (at some places 8m deep) lies a layer of stiff blue-grey clay deposited in the lake before the formation of the bog.
As well as its geological significance the bog offers a habitat for many species of bird and other animals. Among these are birds of prey including Red Kite, Buzzards, Peregrine Falcons, Sparrowhawk, Hen Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, and Barnowl; there are also Teal, Reed Bunting, a variety of Warblers, and many other bird species to be seen here. Spring and Summer bring the spectacle of the dragonfly population. Otters can also occasionally be sighted.
Plant cover is largely reed, grass (cotton grass, purple moor grass), heather, and sphagnum moss. Looking across the bog, the shades of red, brown and yellow make a powerful contrast to the surrounding greenery – the local name for the bog is Cors Goch Glanteifi (the red bog on the Teifi).
The course of the Teifi through the bog was artificially altered some time in the early 20 th century making it straighter and cutting out its natural meanders, perhaps thereby making the surrounding land easier to work. A project will soon be underway to de-silt the old meanders and return the river to its more natural course. This change will help to create river habitats that cannot currently develop in the Teifi on its way through the bog.
1) The old railway line that cuts through the bog offers easy walking and cycling (with wheelchair/pushchair access) and is around 6 ½ km (4 miles) long, exiting the bog at its northern limit.
2) For a closer look at the bog, there is now a 3km (2 miles) boardwalk route stretching out over the peat and vegetation. The path has interpretation boards drawing attention to the animal and plant life here, and also to the extensive peat cuttings that are still visible. Part way along this walk the wooden observatory shelter is a good place for a rest and a view of the bog and wildlife. The route is wheelchair and pushchair accessible.
3) For a longer walk, the River Walk is an 8km (5 mile) loop that follows the Teifi through the bog. Start from the main boardwalk route. (This route is not suitable for wheelchairs. No dogs allowed – dog owners are welcome to walk their dogs on the old railway walk and the boardwalk).
4) For a whole day’s walking, there is also a path along the Western edge of the bog (starting near Tregaron) which can form one side of a 19km (approx.) (12 mile) loop returning along the railway path through the bog. The last section of the walk is along the road back into Tregaron.
Cycling: the railway through Cors Caron forms one section of the Ystwyth Trail, which now has several sections of cycle path open (although is not yet a continuous off-road route).
Grid Reference: centre of car park GR SN691625
Access: Some wheelchair access (boardwalks and old railway line).
By car: travel North out of Tregaron on the Eastern side of the Teifi valley, taking the B4343 for approx. 3km (2miles) to a car park next to the road and at the edge of the reserve
Buses to Tregaron: 585 and 588 services (Lampeter to Aberystwyth via Tregaron)
For a list of Ceredigion bus timetables see: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=483
Parking: Car park
Facilities: Toilets, information boards.
David B. James, Ceredigion: Its Natural History (Bowstreet: published by the author, 2001)