A New Reserve on Gower and Funding from Sita Trust

The Wildlife Trust of South West Wales( WTSWW)  is celebrating the news that it has secured a £70,000 grant from SITA Trust to enhance The Dranges for species including a rare species of butterfly.

Clearing Scrub on the Dranges by Becca Killay

Clearing Scrub on the Dranges by Becca Killay

The Dranges is a 17ha site in the Gower near Swansea. It incorporates dry species-rich grassland, marshy grassland, water courses, ponds and woodland. This site was owned and managed sympathetically for conservation for three decades by one of WTSWW’s founder members, John Pressdee. However following John’s death eight years ago,  much of the grassland habitat has been in decline due to scrub encroachment lack of grazing.

WTSWW recently took over the lease of this land and the funding boost secured through the Landfill Communities Fund will restore the land back into a haven for wildlife.

Marsh Fritillary butterfly larvae was found to be present at The Dranges in 2013 for the first time in a number of years. This native species was once widespread in Britain and Ireland but has declined severely over the twentieth century, a decline mirrored throughout Europe. It’s classed as a Priority Species within the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and Listed as a Section 42 species of principal importance under the NERC Act in Wales. Across Europe it is listed as Vulnerable.

Paul Thornton, Conservation Manager says “We have known this site for several years and have carried out small amounts of management work and survey work in the past few years which has helped us understand the site and develop the management plan.”

The Dranges reserve by Karen McCullough

The Dranges reserve by Karen McCullough

“Much of the grassland habitat has been in decline over recent years due to scrub encroachment lack of grazing. While the lease for the site was in preparation we secured £70,000 funding from SITA Trust’s Enriching Nature Grant Scheme to enable us to undertake habitat maintenance & restoration work and to fence the entire site to allow future grazing of livestock.”

This work is currently in progress with much of the habitat work being delivered by the staff and volunteer team and contractors are due to start the fencing work in November. The SITA Trust funded project will run until September 2015. Public access to the site is possible though not promoted at the moment.

Jools Granville of SITA Trust adds “Volunteering opportunities to help restore this important site are available for both individuals and groups, please get in touch with Paul at the Wildlife Trust if you’d like to join us in saving this land from decline: p.thornton@welshwildlife.org “

SITA Trust provides grants through the Landfill Communities Fund. This important source of funding has been available since 1997 and has provided such worthy projects with more than £1.3 billion.