Marion’s Lasting Legacy

A new nature reserve has been created in south Ceredigion by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, thanks to a very generous legacy left to the organisation by Marion Price. The legacy has enabled the Trust to purchase eleven fields of species-rich grassland, which lie very close to their existing nature reserves of Rhos Pil Bach and Pennar Fawr, near Plwmp.The new nature reserve has been named Rhos Marion, after its benefactor.

Lasting legacy of Rhos Marion

Em Foot with orchid at Rhos Marion by Lizzie Wilberforce

Such is the wildlife value of Rhos Marion, it has recently been confirmed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by the Countryside Council for Wales. Bringing this site in with the Wildlife Trust’s other sites nearby means that the total area of land locally being looked after for the benefit of wildlife is increasing, and a biodiversity jigsaw is being completed, bringing wildlife conservation to a landscape scale.

Ceredigion’s Wildlife Trust Officer, Em Foot, said “the reserve has a mixture of interesting flora, including laburnum trees in the hedges with their distinctive yellow flowers, which are so characteristic of the local area. We hope to attract marsh fritillary butterflies, which currently breed on our adjacent Rhos Pil Bach nature reserve, and offer them even more habitat and therefore opportunity to spread. Marsh fritillaries are a very threatened species but this new nature reserve has the potential to make a big contribution to their conservation in west Wales, one of their few remaining strongholds.”

The fields that make up Rhos Marion have been grazed too heavily in recent history, and although they remain species rich, the Wildlife Trust intends managing it more sympathetically for wildlife, allowing species such as devil’s bit scabious, orchids, ragged robin and bog asphodel to flourish.

Marsh fritillary on ragged robin - lasting legacy of Rhos Marion

Adult marsh fritillaries on ragged robin – Rob Parry

Lizzie Wilberforce, Conservation Manager with the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, said “the Wildlife Trusts have recognised that to secure truly Living Landscapes, nature reserves need to be bigger, greater in number, and better connected. It is now the aim of the Wildlife Trusts to think at a landscape scale, connecting and expanding nature reserves wherever possible. We need to do this to ensure that wildlife has the resilience against a changing environment and make sure we stand the best chance of protecting wildlife for the future”