In March of this year, the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales had funding through the Powys People and Places project to undertake habitat work for Marsh Fritillaries with the help of contractors. Here's an update from Stephanie Coates, Wildlife Trust Officer for Brecknock.
Our Ystradfawr reserve is quite extensive, neighbouring a number of fields connected by young woodland. The school field, Hendreladus, is very flat with compacted coal spoil soil which easily becomes waterlogged with water sitting on the surface throughout much of winter.
Willow and alder trees are spreading into the grassland areas which are full of wet loving wildflowers including orchids. We cleared the scrub using a clearing saw purchased for the project. We then asked our local contractors to pull up the stumps to clear the scrub in wet areas and reduce the need for stump treatment.
Amphibian and Reptile conservation was not the aim of the project, but we took the opportunity to persuade the contractors to make us a hibernacula after some advice from Amphibian and Reptile Conservation. Firstly, they piled the logs, then the stumps, then the woodchip from the huge amounts of brash.
This has provided structural diversity which in turn provides micro climates and opportunities for (cold blooded) ectotherms like reptiles to thermos-regulate. However, I didn’t think that the tree stumps would all sprout!
And hey presto, in August I spotted my first lizard on the edge of the pile! This work is a fantastic example of working together to manage land for wildlife.