72.03 ha (177.99 acres)

Grid reference:


Brynau, meaning 'many hills' in Welsh, is a 235-acre haven for wildlife in the industrial heartland of Wales.

This long-forgotten landscape is now being restored into a sanctuary for nature. Barren fields have been transformed into vibrant young woodland, important restoration work has been carried out in the ancient wood, and abandoned agricultural buildings have been resurrected into a secure home for Brynau's resident barn owl.

The landscape is grazed by a small herd of ancient Welsh white cattle and boasts panoramic views across Bannau Brycheiniog and Swansea Bay.

Brynau is the latest flagship site for the Plant! project, which sees a tree planted for every child born or adopted in Wales.

How to get to Brynau Farm

Brynau Farm is 57 hectares of land perfectly placed on rolling hills next to Gnoll Country Park. It contains a pocket of ancient wood surrounded by bare fields and sits on the edge of Neath, with views across to Swansea Bay and Mumbles lighthouse. 

While there is currently no public access to Brynau Farm, visitors to the area can visit Gnoll Country Park just next door.

Leave the M4 at junction 43 onto the A465. Follow the A465 to Neath/Castle-Nedd then follow the brown signs.

The nearest train station is in Neath, approximately two miles away.

From Neath: First Cymru 153 to Fairyland.

From Port Talbot: First Cymru X4 to Neath, First Cymru 153 to Fairyland.

From Swansea: First Cymru X5 to Neath, First Cymru 153 to Fairyland.

For more information on local public transport visit Traveline.

Facilities and access

Brynau Farm will officially open in spring 2024 when there will be free, unlimited access to the site.

Neath Port Talbot Council parking is available at Gnoll Country Park, postcode SA11 3EF. Charges apply: £2.60 half day & £3.60 full day.

The nearest toilets are at Gnoll Country Park visitor centre. For more information visit or call 01639 635808.

Wildlife and habitats


The mix of new woodland, ancient woodland, grassland and wood pasture at Brynau provides a mosaic of habitats that suits a variety of different species.

Since our woodland creation efforts commenced in 2020, we’ve seen a rapid increase in our small mammal population with voles, mice, rabbits and even hares taking advantage of their new habitat and food source. These browsers have attracted apex predators such as barn owl, kestrel, hobby and merlin which are often seen soaring high in the sky or perching on our raptor posts.

A showcase of British birdlife is one of the true wonders of Brynau. Skylarks provide a soothing soundtrack to a hike to the higher grounds, while swifts and swallows perform areal acrobatics around the farmyard. Dazzling displays of colour brighten up the woodland too as finches, tits, jays and woodpeckers seek food and shelter amongst the trees.

Trees, plants and fungi

Brynau Farm has an area of ancient woodland which is carpeted by bluebells in spring. You'll also find veteran sessile oaks and alder coppice.

The saplings we've planted will buffer, protect and extend this important woodland habitat whilst linking and mirroring the parkland wood pasture seen in the landscape at Gnoll Country Park, next door .


The mix of new woodland, ancient woodland, grassland and wood pasture at Brynau provides a mosaic of habitats that will suit a variety of different species.

We continue to manage the land carefully to ensure there’s enough open space to attract a diversity of wildlife and we've already recruited a team of four-legged grazers to do just that. Our herd of Welsh white cattle help to manage and create habitat for wildlife to thrive in the wood pasture.

Support us

Help us make Brynau Farm even bigger

We’re well on our way to restoring the precious ancient woodland of Brynau Farm. Now we have the chance to more than double the size of this site. Help us secure Cefn Morfudd to extend this peaceful oasis for native wildlife.

Donate today

About Brynau Farm

Conservation grazing

Conservation grazing is a sustainable way of managing the land. At Brynau Farm, we use Welsh white cattle to manage the vegetation, control invasive species and create a varied habitat for wildlife. As selective grazers, Welsh whites seek out coarse grasses, shrubs and woody plants that, when left to grow out of control, can overpower our more delicate native plants.

We're also proud to be playing our part in safeguarding an ancient breed of cattle. The Welsh white is a key part of Welsh folklore and has been an emblem of the power of Welsh princes for centuries. They are associated with Dinefwr Castle near Llandeilo, the seat of the princes of Deheubarth.

Plastic-free tree protection

We're using the Brynau estate as a living lab for sustainability innovation by introducing alternative solutions to single-use plastic tree protection, to protect our new trees from browsing mammals. As you explore Brynau, look out for these different types of tree protection:

  • reusable tree guards
  • cardboard tree guards
  • corn starch tree guards
  • mulch matting
  • rabbit fencing
  • raptor posts.

Natural flood management

Historic modifications to the hillside at Brynau Farm meant that, in periods of heavy rain, water would flow rapidly down steep overland flow pathways in the field towards Neath.

We teamed up with Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, alongside Atkins, to create natural features in the field that re-naturalise the hillside and restore its natural capacity to temporarily store and slow the flow of water. These include:

  • planting new woodland to intercept water
  • using earth bunds to direct water to a new pond
  • breaking out the underground drain to bring water back to the surface, where it is slowed by rough cobbles, vegetation and wood.
  • creating leaky barriers using dead wood and hedges.

Things to do at Brynau Farm


The 9km (5.5-mile) walking trail at Brynau Farm takes you from the pretty 18th-century parkland at Gnoll Estate Country Park, up through our budding plantations and over the flanks of the 950ft Cefn Morfudd mountain. Here, merlins and buzzards hunt and views unfurl for miles across Swansea Bay.

Tree planting events

Check our event listings, below, for upcoming tree planting events. 


Check our volunteering opportunities, below, for upcoming sessions at Brynau Farm.