Helping nature thrive in Pembrokeshire
Thanks to the support received from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we are able to improve landscapes for wildlife at two of our farms in Pembrokeshire and bring people closer to nature.
Goodhope is located on the rugged Pencaer peninsula, just a few miles east of Strumble Head lighthouse, while Folkeston is one of five farms making up the 850 acre Southwood Estate, near Newgale.
A trip to both these farms in Pembrokeshire is like stepping back into the past. The ancient wildflower meadows are alive with bees and butterflies, bluebells drape the fields along the coastal path and flowering hedgerows provide a safe place for rare species of birds, like Yellowhammer.
These farms have survived the changes that intensive agriculture has brought and they present us with a great opportunity to improve the landscape for people and nature. Thanks to the support received from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we are able to do more to protect and enhance these places so wildlife can thrive, and people can enjoy them.
What work will we be doing?
We will be investing in these two farms, to protect them as havens from which wildlife can thrive and expand into the surrounding countryside.
At Folkeston, the focus is to safeguard the farmland bird species which are present there. According to the 2019 State of Nature report, farmland birds have seen a 54% decline since the 1970s, with the iconic Yellowhammer having declined in Wales by 58% since 1995 (State of Birds Wales report 2018), it is now red-listed.
Folkeston’s hedges provide the perfect conditions for many farmland bird species to thrive, including one of Pembrokeshire’s largest remaining Yellowhammer populations.
Investing in farm infrastructure, such as fencing and gates, will enable us to protect and enhance the network of large hedgerows across the farm, which provide crucial nesting and foraging habitat for these species, as well as creating corridors for wildlife to expand into other parts of the Southwood Estate and neighbouring farmland.
This investment will also allow us to maintain and improve the management and grazing of other habitats on the farm including the wildflower meadows, marshy grassland known as rhos pasture and spring cereal crops. In addition, a new permissive footpath will be created, allowing public access across the farm for the first time.
Goodhope contains some of the best variety and finest examples of hay meadows and species rich grasslands under National Trust management in North Pembrokeshire, but the poor state of fences and lack of water for cattle makes managing these a challenge.
New fences, gates and water supplies will enable us to massively increase the area of land that we can “shut up” for hay or carry out deferred grazing with cattle each year. This will have direct benefits to the botanically rich grasslands and rare insects they support, and help us to maintain the coastal bluebell meadows.
At both of these farms we will continue to work closely with our tenants to manage and graze these farms in way which has wildlife at the centre of our decision making.
What work have we done?
Over the last few years we’ve been working hard sowing crops to feed the birds through winter, expanding the hedgerows for better nesting habitat and sowing more wildflower meadow to bring bees, butterflies and all manner of insects back to our farms.
• February 2020 – volunteers cleared fence lines
• June 2020 – coastal fence at Goodhope completed
• Remainder of 2020 – project paused
• April 2021 - Project restarted