The ponds welcome rain with a gentle hiss. A drop lands on a water lily leaf and rolls to the centre where more raindrops accumulate and enlarge until, too heavy at last, they slide into the water through the slit in the leaf. I am watching a frog watching me. Despite being overcast, it is luminous, poetic even, under the trees by the lily ponds…

Being both popular and environmentally sensitive, Llynnoedd Bosherston (Bosherston Lily Ponds) in the western extremity of Sir Benfro (Pembrokeshire) is one place that to visit, deserves careful and imaginative planning. The ponds are special, forming one of very few hard water mesotrophic lakes in Wales. They are spring-fed, so lucid, but artificial – created by the Cawdors of Stagbwll (Stackpole), in testament to that period zest for water features. Weirs were built across three adjacent valleys to slow the water’s flow to the sea, and the resultant ponds stocked with lilies and fish. But it is the underlying limestone which is responsible for the concentration of calcium carbonates which encourage the growth of the stoneworts that are sensitive to nutrient enrichment. The combination of natural ecology and human intervention has resulted in a biodiverse-rich site (12 species of bat, 40 species of dragonfly, 30 species of butterfly) – that requires continued stewardship. 

Read more in the May 2022 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine