Pentwyn Meadows Project (completed)

The aim of the Pentwyn Meadows Project was to improve both the extent and quality of a set of species rich hay meadows, as well as an area of grassland restoration, on GWT's Pentwyn Farm reserve in Monmouthshire.

The Pentwyn Meadows Project was funded by Biffa Award ( a multi-million pound fund which awards grants to community and environmental projects across the UK.

The Project involved a two-year programme of hedge-laying and hedge-coppicing. This was coupled with an intensive programme of field margin management aimed at managing the encroachment of scrub and bracken. The quality of the meadows has also been enhanced through the sowing of wildflower rich seed and green hay on the less diverse fields and newly created areas of grassland. Volunteers have been engaged with the project from the start in a variety of roles. This has included practical conservation work on the ground and habitat and species monitoring, for example.

Specifically the following outcomes have been achieved towards the project’s aims:

  • Extensive management of the woodland boundary features including approximately 300m of hedge laying and 200m of hedge coppicing
  • Woodland copses on the reserve have been coppiced and thinned and over-hanging vegetation cut back
  • 1800 square metres of scrub and plantation shelter belt have been cleared to create new areas of grassland
  • An area of approximately 9000 square metres has been intensively managed to control bracken and other invasive species to restore the area back to species rich grassland
  • Seed and green hay has been harvested from the more species rich fields at Pentwyn Farm. It has been spread onto the less diverse fields, degraded field margins and new areas of bare ground created following woodland and scrub clearance
  • Much of the stock fencing has been renewed, particularly on the boundaries, to strengthen them for cattle grazing in the future
  • Removal of conifer trees and hedge laying took place in the orchard to provide more light for the fruit trees and increase the area of grassland which could be restored
  • In addition to undertaking regular practical work on the project, volunteers were trained in and carried out monitoring for dormice, harvest mice and bees as well as annual orchid counts.

As a result of the project the fields at Pentwyn have been extended and enhanced. The recent management has rejuvenated the hedges and increased diversity in the woodland habitats. It is now possible to maintain the field boundaries on the reserve more easily to prevent harmful encroachment of scrub onto the meadows. Looking to the future, more woodland habitat at Pentwyn will be coppiced under the Glastir scheme later in the year when cattle grazing will hopefully be re-introduced. For more information on Pentwyn Farm please click here.