Nature

Wild Wales – Spirit of the Dragon

Synopsis

Wales is a stunning land of jagged peaks, deep valleys and rugged shores. It may be small, but its wild wealth rivals anywhere on Earth. From spectacular gatherings to rare and curious creatures, life here thrives despite the extreme, ever-changing conditions brought by the Atlantic Ocean. This endurance in the face of adversity is symbolised by the famous red dragon on the Welsh flag. With a cinematic Celtic score and charismatic cast including puffins, fox cubs, red kites and newborn seal pups, our film reveals Wales in all its wild glory.

It’s winter. Wales is blanketed white with snow. An icy wind rips through the rugged mountains, battering a herd of almost mythic Carneddau ponies. They stand stead-fast against the storm.

Lower down, haunting shapes swoop amongst heavy snowfall. Red kites. A century ago, just a handful of these majestic birds were left in Britain. Now, they are thriving thanks to the efforts of feeding stations that help them through the tough winter.

While snow falls inland, warm Atlantic currents create milder conditions on the coast. In winter, cute grey seal pups are born on the rocky shores. Their curious song echoes around the many coastal caves. As each brief winter draws to an end, thousands of starlings dance in the sky above them, before descending in huge numbers to roost on town piers that jut out into the sea.

Though small, Wales’ extraordinary natural wealth has seen people fight over this land for millennia. The ruins of countless castles loom over the landscape. Today, the towers are home to rare bats and are haunted by ghostly white barn owls.

As spring transforms the land around them, carpets of wild daffodils and bluebells fill the Welsh forests. New life appears among all the beauty. Fox cubs emerge from dens to play. Dippers dive through cascading waterfalls to feed their young chicks, hidden safely behind.

Summer brings good times and great spectacles to the coast as tens of thousands of seabirds arrive to breed. Puffins, guillemots and gannets fill every nook and cranny. Bizarre sea lamprey swim up the great Welsh rivers to spawn far inland. Around them, as quiet falls over the mountains and valleys, black ants form a curious relationship with tiny caterpillars, and terrifying tiger beetle larvae lie in wait for unsuspecting prey.

Autumn paints the forest red, orange and yellow. In the shadow of a castle ruins, the fallow deer rut begins. The males’ violent battles rage long into the cold night. Salmon fight their way up the rivers to spawn, which rage after the heavy rain. Soon, the nights draw in and winter returns.

This immersive film offers an intimate portrait of life on the edge, where the vast Atlantic Ocean brings changing conditions all through the year. In Wales, we discover a country steeped in myth and legend, home to enchanting creatures, where the spirit of the dragon endures.