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Visit to the Elan Valley Meadows

8 July 2017

On a beautiful sunny mid-Wales day, our group gathered at the Elan Valley Visitor Centre before moving off to see two sets of rich hay meadows. In the morning, we were led by Michael Hayes to the Coronation hay meadows of Caeau Penglaneinon where, amidst the fantastic richness of fields full of Wood Bitter Vetch, Greater Butterfly orchids, eyebrights, Fairy Flax, Great Burnet and Saw-wort, he described his work devising management regimes to maintain the meadows’ biodiversity.

After lunch we joined Sorcha Lewis to see some of the natural history highlights of her farm adjoining Penygarreg Reservoir. Evidence of Water Voles in pond-side rushes and Purple Moorgrass were first on the list followed by examination of old Birch trees for Welsh Clearwing moths. Having seen Mountain Pansy flowering in plant rich grazed pasture, we moved to the waterside hay meadow which, with over 120 species of flowering plants, did not disappoint. Unsurprisingly most of the flowers of our morning visit were well in evidence in Sorcha’s meadows, but with some additions and in differing proportions, which gives each of the species rich meadows in this valley its own individual character. Our thanks to Michael and Sorcha for their help in making this visit a great success.

Author and photographs: Fred Slater CEcol CEnv FCIEEM (rtd), Welsh Section Committee

Mike Hayes with the CIEEM Wales Group in the Caeau Penglaneinon meadows

Mike Hayes with the CIEEM Wales Group in the Caeau Penglaneinon meadows

Sorcha Lewis leading the group though hay meadows towards Penygarreg reservoir

Sorcha Lewis leading the group though hay meadows towards Penygarreg reservoir

Mountain Pansy

Mountain Pansy

 

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