Rare Fungi

SSSI Designated

Cardiff’siconic reservoirs

Brought to you by Welsh Water

A Site Of Importance For Fungi

The embankments of Lisvane and Llanishen Reservoir are of special interest for their significant populations of grassland fungi, particularly the rare waxcaps and earthtongues.

Waxcap fungi thrive in short turf on undisturbed soils that are low in nutrients. They grow best on land that has not been ploughed or artificially fertilised and our reservoir embankments provide these ideal conditions. Waxcap fungi are very attractive and many of them are bright colours. In autumn you’ll see red, pink, yellow and green waxcaps gleaming like jewels, nestled in the grass. Over twenty-five species of waxcap have been found in the grasslands surrounding the reservoir.

Earthtongues really do look like a small tongue emerging out of the ground. They’re usually dark and earthy in colour, ranging from olive green to brown and black, and you’ll see them among the grass stems late in autumn, from November onwards. There are around thirty different species of earthtongues in the UK and we have at least seven here at Lisvane & Llanishen.

The fungi also prefer grazed meadows where the grass is short and so the relatively frequent mowing of the grass has a similar effect to grazing. Vegetation clearance has been undertaken across the site and most of it is now being managed by mowing. The reduction in shade and leaf-fall from removing the overhanging trees benefits the fungi near the fence.

Nature & Wildlife Highlights

Birds & Birdwatching

The mix of woodland, grassland and waterside habitats makes this an area rich in birdlife. Discover which birds make Lisvane & Llanishen Reservoirs their home.


Wildlife & Nature

Lisvane & Llanishen Reservoirs forms a vital part of the green and blue infrastructure of Cardiff and has great ecological value particularly for fungi and overwintering birds.



Explore our nature trails in the semi-ancient and more recently established woodland on site. Find out about our education zone and Wildlife Haven…


Plants & Insects

Wild-flowers flourish at Lisvane & Llanishen Reservoirs, as they did in the hay meadows of earlier times, and they attract a variety of insects, particularly butterflies.


Take Care

In order to help us protect the diversity of grassland fungi at Lisvane & Llanishen, please take care when you walk around the site.

Please use signposted trails only and keep off the grass at all times.

Please take notice of our seasonal path closures.