Flora and Fauna
Ifton Meadows extends to approximately 20 hectares and includes differing habitats.
Price’s Dingle retains a heritage of semi ancient woodland supplemented by more recent plantings of indigenous trees. The presence of the stream creates ideal conditions for mosses, liverworts and saxifrages, whilst the canopy, including oak, ash and chestnut is ideal support for the magnificent spring displays of snowdrops, bluebells, wild garlic, and wood anemones.
The pool at the top of the dingle is home to dragonflies and moorhens. This pool is a buffer for water run-off from local fields and is inevitably shallow. The silt build up has to be regularly removed.
The grassland is mown annually and encroaching scrub is removed. This provides the ideal habitat for the summer nesting skylarks. The ascending song of this delightful bird, inspiration to both poets and composers, whilst common in the past, is now a rare and welcome addition to a summer stroll.
Visitors are welcome to wander throughout the site enjoying panoramic views of the western Clwydian hills, fly kites, picnic, find swathes of common spotted orchid and enjoy the many species of butterfly benefiting from the scrubby edges of the grassland.
Ragwort is also controlled in one small area for the threatened cinnabar moth caterpillar which is now a U.K. biodiversity priority species.
This reserve was born from the need to deal with the legacy of a once great coal industry. Now, reclaimed by man and dressed by nature, it is an asset to the local community and is enjoyed by visitors from near and far.
The History and Geology of Ifton Meadows
• It all began 300 – 350 million years ago. The period now called the Carboniferous era. Shropshire was near the equator and on the edge of a shallow tropical sea. Rainforests and swamps dominated the landscape. Over the following millennia the pressure of deposited sediments, heat and bacteria converted this decaying material into coal. This eventually became the raw material which fuelled the Industrial Revolution.
• Geologically the seams at Ifton Colliery were difficult to work due to the many faults and steep gradients. This can be seen at the surface, particularly in Prices Dingle where the stream cuts through the steeply dipping sandstones and siltstones. The famous Coed yr Allt Sandstone, which can be seen outcropping on the surface, underlies much of the northern bank and demonstrates its notable strength and resistance as it dictates the course of the stream.
• 16th century. First recorded surface mining of coal locally.
• 1771 A shaft opened at Ifton sloping to the East at 30°.
• 1838 Coal mined at Pen-y-Banc above Prices Dingle.
• 1868 Lord Trevor’s Colliery & Brickworks operated at Pentre Dingle.
• 1912 Five shafts at Pentre. No. 3 Shaft was renamed Gertrude Mine and became Ifton Colliery.
• 1921 Gertrude was extended to join the Brynkinalt mine in Chirk Green.
• 1928 Brynkinalt ceased production and became a ventilation shaft for Ifton.
• 1928 Ifton employed 1,357 men and produced 1,000 tons of coal per day.
• 1947 The deepened mine (1,500 feet) was nationalised by the Clement Atlee government.
• 1960 The modernised mine employed 1250 men and produced 1780 tons of coal per day.
• 1968 Ifton Colliery closed.
• 1975 Oswestry BC took ownership of the site, re-graded and covered the colliery spoil tips and re-opened the site to the public three years later.
• 2005 Ifton Meadows became a Local Nature Reserve.
Facilities at Ifton Meadows
Access Ifton Meadows is open all year round. The formal path from the Colliery Entrance to the viewpoint is suitable for both wheelchairs (RADAR key required) and pushchairs (Category 2). Elsewhere paths are typically unmade and can be muddy in wet weather. Dogs are welcome under control. Cycles and motorised vehicles are prohibited.
Visitors are especially requested to keep to the paths during the skylark breeding season (April-July)
Parking Limited parking is available at the Colliery Entrance.
Refreshments and toilets are available locally at Stan’s Superstore and Cafe which is located in St Martins.
Personal safety. Hazards are numerous in an environment such as this. Visitors are wholly and solely responsible for their own safety. Children must be supervised at all times.