This year, the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales has made incredible progress. With help from our funders and supporters, we have been able to secure a unique Nature Reserve, establish partnership projects that support species-specific conservation, action nature recovery networks across South and West Wales and launched our launch our new Strategy for 2020-2030. We couldn't have done this without the invaluable support from our funders and members, those who have left us a gifts in their wills and donated, our WILDFundraisers and many more - we are incredibly grateful for your hard work and generosity. To celebrate this and #WelshCharitiesWeek, we wanted to summarise our top three nature highlights of this year.
Thanks to your donations, we were able to complete the purchase of Pencnwc Mawr Woodland
Pencnwc Mawr Woodland is a rare surviving remnant of the Welsh temperate rainforest, scarcer than tropical rainforests. Our appeal was launched in January 2021 and we needed to raise the money quickly to prevent the woodland being sold to another interested buyer who wanted to manage the woodland as a pheasant shoot.
We did not raise the full amount in time through the appeal, but we were able to top up the funds we needed in the short term by borrowing from a fund that was left to us as a gift in a will.
Pencnwc Mawr shares much of the wildlife interest of the adjacent Pengelli Forest nature reserve and has expanded our nature reserve by a fifth. We can now manage this enlarged woodland reserve sympathetically, to provide the best conditions for wildlife and reduce the damaging effects of habitat fragmentation.
Donations helped to ensure that many woodland species including the rare barbastelle bats, the visiting greater horseshoe bats, breeding populations of dormice, together with many woodland birds and butterflies, particularly the silver-washed fritillary were protected for the future at Pencnwc Mawr woodland.
During the midst of Covid19 and all the problems this has caused, the purchase of this woodland has been a wonderfully positive step forward for wildlife. We were all greatly encouraged by the response of our supporters over such a short time.
Exciting and innovative project launched for the last remaining population of Red Squirrels in Wales
The mid-Wales red squirrel partnership has been monitoring the local red squirrels for nearly 20 years now, but, in this time, it has never been possible to develop a good population estimate.
The early years of the Mid-Wales Red Squirrel Project were focused on proving that there were, indeed, still red squirrels surviving here, which in the days before trail cameras, was no easy task!
The red squirrels here in mid-Wales are the only population left in Wales which hasn’t had any support through reintroductions. This means it’s vitally important to maintain a close eye on the population to ensure that it’s not in decline, and to help guide our future conservation work.
This year, instead of assessing how the red squirrels are doing by tracking individuals across the focal site, we have started to trap the squirrels in more locations, and taking hair samples (under licence from Natural Resources Wales (NRW)) which we are sending to the Biosciences Department of Swansea University for DNA analysis.
This project's funding runs out next July and to continue to stage 3 of the project, the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales needs to raise £10,000 to fund work on the ground of the next important years.
Parc Slip Nature Reserve and Visitor Centre received a Green Flag Award!
The Green Flag Award programme is delivered in Wales by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, with support from Welsh Government. Independent green space experts volunteered their time in early autumn to judge applicant sites against eight strict criteria, including biodiversity, cleanliness, environmental management, and community involvement.
Parc Slip Nature Reserve is home to a variety of different habitat types such as grassland, woodland and wetlands, all of which is restored from its previous status as an opencast coal mine. It supports many different species, including great crested newts and bee orchids and is a safe area for families to discover and enjoy nature.
The flag is now flying high at Parc Slip Nature Reserve and Visitor Centre in recognition of its excellent visitor facilities, high environmental standards, and commitment to delivering great quality green space!
The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales' Parc Slip Nature Reserve and Visitor Centre was designated as one of the 11 #DiscoveryGateway's by the Welsh Government in 2019, as part of the #ValleysRegionalPark initiative. As a #DiscoverGateway, Parc Slip received funding towards a range of projects including improvements to the reserve and visitor centre, benefitting both people and wildlife.