Saving Priors Meadow

Photo by Gemma de Gouveia

Photo by Gemma de Gouveia

Photo by Jim Higham

Photo by Jim Higham

In October 2018 WTSWW were lucky to be awarded funding by Welsh Government’s Landfill Disposal Tax Community Scheme, administered by WCVA, for a project which will focus on the existing hay meadow and surroundings at Priors Wood & Meadow Nature Reserve. Priors Meadow is one of the last remaining old hay meadows on Gower, unimproved and (we think) in continual management as a meadow for at least 100 years. Year on year though management of the meadow has got more problematic, often due to wetter ground conditions & agricultural machinery getting bigger and bigger, which has lead to this scarce habitat becoming degraded.

This project was due to begin immediately but was delayed because between submitting the application and being awarded the grant Great Crested Newts (GCN) were discovered on site. GCN are a protected species so this meant we had to prepare a method statement to remove the risk of harm to the animal from our actions, and get it approved by NRW. This took a fair bit of our time and means that certain activities have to be carried out at certain times of year, we would like to thank Peter Hill from Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Trust for his advice and support with this. Everything was approved and by late February we were ready to make a start.

The first activity was hedgelaying with our volunteers and participants from Gower Hedgerow Hub. This was quickly followed by chain harrowing the meadow with the harrow bought by the project. Owning small kit like this means we can deliver the work required when the ground conditions are perfect.

The project has its main focus on benefitting biodiversity but we will be engaging with more of the community through various practical conservation activities such as this hedgelaying and we will also be running species training events on the meadow itself. Other aims of the project are to improve the management access in order to allow on going sustainable management of the meadow and easier access for graziers checking livestock grazing the “aftermath”, to restore hedgerow boundaries on 2 sides of the meadow, to fence the meadow in its entirety so grazing can continue, to clear scrub and the ever encroaching rough headland vegetation and to create a new pond, which will provide water for livestock whilst benefitting biodiversity.

Keep an eye on e-news for further updates. If you have any queries or wish to get involved in volunteering or monitoring work please contact Paul p.thornton@welshwildlife.org

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