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Cnocell Y Coed - Woodpecker

Bizarrely, Woodpecker was one of the first words I was taught in Welsh, when we moved here 17 years ago; 'Cnocell y Coed'

"Blimey, there must be a lot of Woodpeckers in Wales" I thought, if I'm going to need to be able to chuck 'Cnocell y Coed' into casual conversation on a regular basis.

So out of curiosity I looked up what the Great Spotted Woodpecker (Cnocell y smotyn gwych!) population was..approximately 40,000 pairs in Great Britain, although oddly none in Ireland until about 2008 when they first started breeding in the very east of the country.

Whilst looking this up, I stumbled across various folklore tales about the Woodpecker and how they are associated with being mischief makers.  One tale told of the Woodpecker who reputedly drummed holes in the floor of Noah's Ark, nearly causing it to sink. His punishment for this was a smack on the back of the head, hence causing the red mark we see on the back of the (males) head of the Great Spotted Woodpecker today.

To this day I still dont think I have ever needed to throw Cnocell y coed into my every day chat around Solva, unfortunately there arent that many around.  I never did find out how many actually live in Wales alone, but don't go googling 'Woodpeckers in Wales' as that will take you to something completely different!!


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