We had an exciting day yesterday. It was the first time Roz and I had been up to Nant-y-Meillion since we exchanged and completed, and we were there for an Environmental Impact Assessment from the Welsh government to make sure we were safe to do what we wanted to do and we weren’t going to damage any rare habitat. we also wanted to know, if we did have any rare habits, what we needed to do to maintain them.
And there was good news, and good news! We do have some rare habitat, some lowland acid grassland which is perfect for super rare Marsh Fritillary butterflies. But we also have lots of semi-improved grassland which is not rare at all and can be used for growing all kinds of things. So really it’s the best of both worlds.
It was really interesting to walk over the site with Julie, who is a grassland specialist, and watch her point out all the different plants and explain what kind of habitats were good and how to look after them with rotation grazing. She showed us over-wintering snipe nesting in the long grass, and pointed out evidence of where badgers had been grubbing for insects (we’ve got BADGERS!) and I feel much more informed about the land than I did before. She also said that while there was no evidence of Marsh Fritillaries, there was also no reason why we couldn’t plant things that would encourage them to breed on this site – they lay their eggs on a plant called Devil’s Bit Scabious, which can be easily introduced to the habitat.
While we were up there we also started laying a track with Grass Reinforcement Mesh – it will take a while to grow in and be ready to drive on, but it’s a start, at least. We checked the fences to make sure that at least some areas are safe for Daggitt and Dangerfloof, and we had a cup of tea with our new neighbour who we bought the farm from. We were telling him about the Environmental survey, and he said he was really glad that he had sold his land to people who were so interested in nature. So that was lovely.
All in all it was a good day. We didn’t get everything done that we wanted but we came away armed with new knowledge and enthusiasm, and we’ll be back up there soon to put it into practice!