The Dranges Marsh Fritillary Habitat Recovery Project

It felt like we were doing battle with the weather and ground conditions but as winter progressed so did the SITA Trust funded project to restore the habitat for Marsh Fritillary butterflies at The Dranges, Bishopston. February 2015 saw the completion of the external fencing, a total of 2500m.

Dranges fencingInternal boundary fencing was commenced and completed a total of 1470m. 11 gates and 2 stiles were installed, 3 existing gates on the external boundary were also rehung. 4 swing gates were also installed where the fencing crossed watercourses.

Through the winter the staff and volunteer teams have worked hard clearing scrubby vegetation and two of the wet meadows were cut and collect mowed.

With the removal of rank vegetation and the new fencing this will enable the site to be grazed in future making the management of the grasslands for the  Marsh Fritillary sustainable.

Dranges swing gateThe work to improve drainage and access at various points across the site was completed as the contractors pulled out of the site and as they reinstated.

Over 60t of stone was brought onto the site to firm up areas where crossing would become impossible and to increase the resilience at pinch points.

We have now said goodbye to our specialist contractors AJ Butler Contracting Ltd who delivered the fencing and mowing work. I would like to thank them for their flexible and sympathetic approach to working this site. The ground and weather conditions were challenging and without their low ground pressure machinery this job would have been near impossible.

Delivering so much work in such a short period of time has certainly impacted on the site but the contractors reinstated as they pulled out of site we have now handed it over to nature while the site ‘settles’ and greens up again. We are now minimising our own access onto the site to reduce the impact and will return once the weather improves.