Ty Mawr Meadows Restoration Project (completed)

A 14 month project funded by Biffa award to restore flower rich meadows and hedgerows to the Ty Mawr Convent Estate, Nr Trellech.

This Gwent Wildlife Trust (GWT) project is funded by the Biffa Award Rebuilding Biodiversity Fund.

The aims of the project are:

  • To transform the existing grassland to flower rich meadows through the application of wildflower seed and green hay.
  • To reintroduce a sensitive conservation grazing and hay cutting regime to support the natural colonisation of wild flowers on the site.
  • To improve the infrastructure by installing a water trough in each field and renewing livestock fencing to enable controlled grazing.

Green hay is hay that is cut from a wildflower rich “donor” field then transferred to a species poor “receptor” field. The wildflower seeds drop from the hay as it dries, thus introducing wildflowers. Grazing sheep increase the chance of the seeds germinating by trampling them into the ground.

The existing hedgerows on site are very overgrown and gappy. The project will cut back overgrown hedges, stimulating new growth, and protect the hedge from grazing animals with new stock fencing. This will allow a thick dense hedgerow to develop which will continue to provide corridors for small mammals and bats.

The project ran until June 2016 and involved volunteers in hedge planting, scrub clearance and spreading green hay.

Common Blue Buttefly, a common site to flowery meadows (image courtesy of Amanda Jones).

Why grazing?

Grazing is really important in species rich grassland restoration as it allows the fast growing competitive grass species to be grazed down allowing space for the wildflowers to start growing. The grazing also helps to remove nutrients from the fields that grasses depend on,so that over time the wildflowers dominate. Cutting and removing a hay crop speeds up this process of lowering nutrients.This can be seen at the nearby New Grove Meadows Nature Reserve. Increasing the amount of wildflowers across the site will help to support a wide variety of wildlife including pollinating insects such as Bumble Bees, Hoverflies and Butterflies.

Green Winged Orchid, a rare species but common sight near Ty Mawr (Image courtesy of Lee Parsons)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Background Information

Gwent Wildlife Trust (GWT) has been involved with The Society of the Scared Cross at Ty Mawr Convent since 2010 when the Society approached GWT to help with the management of their estate.

Since then the estate has been entered into the Glastir Agri–environment scheme. Under the scheme a new apple orchard and approx. 200 metres of hedgerow have been planted , approx. 200metres of new hedgerow has been planted and the management of 2 local wildlife sites within the estate has been supported.