Environment & Ecology

Much of Rhydycar West is ecologically rich, with the site being designated SINC (Site of Importance for Nature Conservation) and parts being designated as SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). The first step in designing the regeneration scheme was to fully understand the environment across the site and to use that knowledge to create a proposal that sits in harmony with the landscape.

From 2015 to and through 2022, surveys have been carried out on habitats and plant species including birds, amphibians and reptiles, dormice, bats, badgers, butterflies and other invertebrates. The known importance of various parts of the site for grassland fungi (such as waxcaps) has also been assessed by specialist surveys.

We know that these designations and the species and habitats that underpin them are important, and we are determined to work within these parameters to deliver a transformational development. The development ‘footprint’ has been minimised; over 86% of the land under Rhydycar West’s ownership will remain undeveloped and careful planning will ensure development components are sited sensitively and that unavoidable damage is mitigated or compensated.

A small portion of the development is proposed to take place in the SSSI, which is the ski centre slopes’ structure, identified on the map opposite along with a small access section. This has been kept to the absolute minimum, representing just 3% of the total SSSI designated area. Furthermore, the incursion has been limited to areas dominated by closed canopy woodland or more open woodland interspersed with bracken-dominated vegetation which are not interest features of the SSSI. These habitats have little value for grassland fungi and do not contribute to the interest feature of the SSSI. The submitted ecology reports show there is scope for a combination of secured management of the balance of the SSSI and additional compensatory enhancement of other off-site land such that the negative impacts on the SSSI could be outweighed.

We are actively pursuing and are committed to a range of mitigation measures to improve the existing ecological fabric of the site (further details will be found in the ecology-specific technical documents).

We are excited about the opportunities for conservation and education at Rhydycar West.

The Rhydycar West application site forms part of a wider landholding that spans c.550 acres (c.223ha) in the heartland of South Wales, nestled in the Valley opposite the town of Merthyr Tydfil. The application site itself occupies a 30.4ha parcel of land and is in the south-eastern corner of the landholding.


86% of the site will be undeveloped!


The green area on the map above is the designated SSSI.
The red line (development boundary) indicates the area on which the development footprint enters a section of the SSSI.

The proposed development will leave over 86% of the land under Rhydycar West’s ownership, approximately 475 acres untouched. The area of development will be c.75 acres with the remainder retained as countryside. In total the built area of the development will be just under 14% of the land under ownership.

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