The LLNH-1 Targeted Natural Heritage Restoration project will provide a capital restoration budget for conservation work which targets the growing issue of abandonment of field ditch management along with the restoration of ancient orchards and other key heritage features in decline or in a degraded condition. These include willow trees in need of pollarding, field grips in danger of disappearing, wet meadows in decline and the lack of adequate habitat for Shrill Carder bee and other pollinating insects.
This management will improve the biodiversity value of the Gwent Levels, benefit the SSSI, and will restore the landscape’s traditional mixed mosaic character, particularly by opening up again the areas which have become shaded and dry. As a secondary benefit, it will also contribute to improving water quality, and may help reduce flood risk in some localised areas.
This Project will fund management activities on land both within the SSSI and outside the SSSI boundary that lies within the Living Levels Scheme area. These management activities will include;
1. Field ditch re-casting (c1200Km of private ditches)
2. Willow pollarding
3. Field re-gripping
4. Orchard pruning and maintenance
5. Orchard planting with local varieties (could be new and existing)
6. Meadow restoration linked with seed harvesting locally
7. Where landowners are happy the project could also involve improved access or interpretation at certain suitable points if opportunities arise.
Works are being prioritised on the basis of landscape and habitat benefits as judged by a panel of experts from Gwent Wildlife Trust and Natural Resources Wales. If you think you may have any land which may be eligible for funding or you might be interested in volunteering to help with these activities, please contact Gemma for further information.