Snowdonia’s extraordinary wildlife needs your help

Racomitrium lanuginosum moss, Snowdonia, Wales

Snowdonia’s dramatic scenery sets the stage for some of the most varied and fascinating wildlife in the UK.

For the hundreds of thousands of people who visit every year, it’s the flora and fauna living among the landscape’s jagged cliffs, lush valleys and crystal clear rivers that make its views and atmosphere so special. Even the toughest mountain habitats are home to rare plants and wildlife. And it’s these vulnerable species that are most at risk from damage caused by eroded paths. Find out more about some of Snowdonia’s remarkable residents and how your support will help protect their future.

Ring Ouzels sport a distinctive white collar and prefer the quiet life on rocky and remote slopes
A Ring Ouzel bird, found in Snowdonia, Wales

Ring Ouzel: the blackbird of the mountains

Ring Ouzels sport a distinctive white collar and prefer the quiet life on rocky and remote slopes. You might spot them swooping low over the Watkin Path as it winds up to Snowdon’s summit, or see – and hear – them calling melodically from a boulder. Although they’re one of the UK’s most endangered birds, their numbers have grown in Snowdonia in recent years thanks to kinder agricultural practices. But damage to the pathways poses a new threat. In places where they’re eroded and hard to follow, visitors are trampling and compacting vegetation on the ground close to Ring Ouzel nesting sites, making it hard for them to find insects to feed their chicks. With your support, we can repair the paths to protect these sites, and prevent this shy bird disappearing from Snowdonia’s slopes altogether.

The brightly coloured Snowdon beetle, also known as the Snowdonia Rainbow beetle
The Snowdonia Rainbow beetle (Snowdon beetle)

Snowdon Beetle: a little living jewel

You’ll be lucky to spot a Snowdon Beetle – but if you do, you’re unlikely to forget it. About the size of a ladybird, what this tiny, thyme-eating creature lacks in stature, it makes up for in dazzling colour. Its wing cases are striped with iridescent bands of red, gold, green and blue, so it’s easy to see why it’s also called the Rainbow Leaf Beetle. Living elusively under stones and rocks, there are thought to be only 1,000 adults in the UK – all in just a handful of spots across Snowdonia. And sadly, crumbling paths are putting their population at risk. If we can repair those paths with more resilient building methods and materials, we can stop shifts and changes in their habitats, and give this little gem of an insect a better chance of survival.

Brwynddail y mynydd lili wyddfa - Snowdonia lily
Brwynddail y mynydd lili wyddfa - Snowdonia lily

Snowdon Lily: an ice-age relic

With its spindly leaves and delicate flowers, you might think the Snowdon Lily, also known as the Brwynddail y Mynydd or ‘rush-leaved mountain plant’, wouldn’t survive a light frost. But it’s much tougher than it looks. A relic of Wales’ glacial past, this little plant is found in only one place in the UK – on Snowdonia’s highest ledges and rock faces, where temperatures can fall to minus twenty degrees Celsius. It’s expertly adapted to endure high altitudes and thin soil as well as harsh weather. As one of the rarest plants in the UK, the Brwynddail y Mynydd is starting to show its vulnerability. Climate change is its biggest threat, but disruption to its habitat from people inadvertently leaving the paths and trampling vegetation – increasing the risk of more invasive plant species taking over – is contributing to the plant’s decline. Together, we can work to keep its environment as healthy as possible, before it’s too late.