2013 marks the 75th anniversary of the work of WTSWW in the west of its patch. This month in our series of items exploring our archive, we head back to this month in 1979, with two excerpts from our Bulletin of that date.

West Wales Naturalists’ Trust Bulletin No. 25 April 1979

New Reserve: Rhos Glyn-yr-Helyg

Image from old newsletterMembers will recall that in recent Bulletins reference has been made to a  survey of old meadows in Dyfed being carried out by the Nature Conservancy Council. This has revealed a number of sites of particularly high natural history interest, one of which, an area of some 27 acres near the village of Gorsgoch in Ceredigion, has just been purchased by the Trust. The acquisition was able to proceed as a result of the considerable interest and help shown by the owners, Mr and Mr K Abrahamson of Glyn-yr-Helyg farm. We are also most grateful to the many members and others who have contributed to the Dyfed Wildlife Appeal and so provided funds for the purchase. The Trust is also indebted to the Nature Conservancy Council, World Wildlife Fund, Ernest Kleinwort Trust and the Conder Charitable Trust for assistance with this most notable purchase.

Rhos Glyn-yr-Helyg, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, lies on the lower, gentle slopes of the valley of the Afon Grannell and is mainly wet, heathy pasture which has not been agriculturally improved. It is one of the largest remaining tracts of this fast disappearing habitat in the country. Some 110 species of flowering plant have been recorded so far. In addition to the herb-rich Molinia – based grassland, the site has ditches and wet flushes supporting rich association of water loving plants; areas of elevated ground supporting dry herb-rich wards and gorse. A remarkable additional feature are two floating bogs with a peat raft rich in Sphagna and other bog plants. Little is known at present of the fauna, though birds like Heron, Lapwing, Snipe and Curlew are usually present.

The management of the area will include winter grazing by horses, and in this we will be assisted by Mr and Mrs Abrahamson, while it is also hoped to create a small pond in order to provide an open water habitat.

Access will be by written permit, these being available from the Trust Office, where it is hoped that Sections will from time to time arrange organised visits to the Reserve. This is the first reserve in the south of Ceredigion other than Cardigan Island, and contains certain habitats previously unrepresented on any of our other reserves.

Report on Dyfed Wildlife Appeal

Since the Appeal was launched in July 1978, the main drive has centred around the Sections and these have to be congratulated on the successful outcome so far. Individual highlight was the auction organised by the Pembroke and Tenby Sections which raised well over £2,000.

The Schools Sunflower Competition, in spite of the poor season, was very successful, some £2,000 being raised, and provided a good deal of publicity for the Appeal. The Sections organised garden parties, coffee mornings, bazaars, open days, auctions, collecting boxes in hotels and places where the public gather, and generally it was an extremely busy start to the campaign. 166 Charitable Trusts which are known to support conservation have been approached. I believe that members would like to know that Lady V. Merthyr authorised a donation of £1,000 from the Lord Merthyr Trust Fund and Mr Trevor Lewis donated £700.

The big oil companies who have installations in the Milford Haven area have been approached but to date the  response has been dreadful considering the effect that oil has been having on the Welsh Coast, Amoco: £10, Gulf Oil and Esso: nil.

The intention is to write to business house, shops and hotels, but the general help from the Sections in providing names and addresses has been poor. Towns like Aberystwyth, Milford Haven, Carmarthen must have people interested in our work but without names and addresses it is not easy to write to them.

The Section efforts are very approximately as follows: Pembroke and Tenby – over £4,000; North Pembrokeshire - £1,000; East Carmarthen- over £2,400; West Carmarthen – over £1,100; Mid Pembrokeshire – over £750; North Ceredigion - £600; South Ceredigion - £0; i.e. over £8,900.

A summary of donations, collections and gifts shows that a total of £18,096 has been raised. Expenses have been £2,212, including £1,000 for a deposit for the purchase of a reserve.

Agreement has been reached on the purchase of Rhos Glyn-yr-Helyg reserve and payment is required by early February. At long last all outstanding points regarding the purchase of Dynevor Castle Woods have been finalised and the contract has been signed.

Sections have done well so far, but obviously if we are to reach our target of £60,000 we must keep at the wheel with the future emphasis perhaps being directed more to the public at large and business houses.

Ian S. Watt, Appeal Chairman, 30 January 1979.