Gwent Grasslands Initiative (2005-2007)

Species-rich grassland (GWT)Species-rich grassland (GWT)

The Gwent Grasslands Initiative focused on identifying species-rich grassland sites and working with landowners to secure sensitive management, and make a contibution to the delivery of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) for Lowland Meadows. It was the foundation for much of GWT's continuing work on grasslands today.

 

The project focused on identifying areas of species-rich grassland in Monmouthshire and Blaenau Gwent, raising awareness about the importance of such sites and advising and supporting landowners. Work also took place to restore and create new wildflower meadows to link the fragmented lowland meadows that remain, and create corridors for the movement of wildlife. It worked closely with other groups such as the Monmouthshire Meadows Group.

Sites for survey were initially targeted through the study of existing habitat survey data, followed by field visits. Where appropriate, sites were given recognition as Local Wildlife Sites.

Species-rich grasslands are vital in providing refuges for flora and fauna and providing a network of sites, acting as corridors for species migration and dispersal. We have lost 97% of our meadows in the UK over last 50 years.  The project aimed to secure the sensitive management of those sites that do remain, whilst working to increase the species-diversity of other sites through grassland restoration techniques, including seed sowing with local wildflower seed.

Key achievements:

  • 750+ha of species-rich grassland identified as Local Wildlife Sites 
  • 250+ grassland Local Wildlife Sites identified 
  • 250+ LWS landowners, plus 400+ additional landowners provided with advice/visits 
  • Positive management secured on 350ha+ of Local Wildlife Sites
  • 80ha of species-poor grassland engaged in long term process of restoration - restoration through positive management and local wildflower seed application.

Wildflower Meadow

Untouched by the plough or other intervention
Allowed to flourish in nature’s way
The meadow, an echo of the past
In profusion, bathed by the sun
Wild flowers randomly thread
Through the grass

The gentle breeze disturbs
Nature’s children, attended by the bees
Vie for attention, smile and sway
Look at me! they seem  to say
Butterflies rise in the air their wings applaud
The hedgerow, haven for the birds

Buzzards glide, circle high in the sky
Too soon, much too soon, sad to say
Treasured  flowers fade away
Their seed dispersed, in promise of new birth
Grass grows tall, made into hay and taken away
Sheep graze to prepare the sward 

Next year’s flowers, its own reward

J Gilvear, Monmouthshire Local Wildlife Site Owner, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See 'Managing land for wildlife' for meadow management and seed sowing downloads.