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Treasured natural habitat curated by Bron Afon

An area of grassland at Maesderwen Rise in Griffithstown, owned by Bron Afon Community Housing, has been identified as a valuable species-rich habitat.

This follows a detailed ecological survey by the Nature Isn’t Neat project, which has been working with residents, local authorities and housing organisations to enable grasslands to naturally grow into meadow areas. This helps create the ever-rarer habitats for bees, butterflies and other pollinators.

The grassland site contains several species of wildflowers, including uncommon bee orchids.

Nature isn’t Neat Implementation Officer Elliot Waters, who surveyed the site this summer, added: “The diversity of wildflowers in such a small space is amazing and this all comes from putting the mowers away in the spring and summer.

“Maesderwen Rise is one of our best Nature isn’t Neat sites and a great example that you can create an amazing habitat on your doorstep by letting nature grow.”

Steve Williams, Team Leader for Ecology and Landscape Policy at Torfaen Council, said: “There is a large population of bee orchids on site, which is a particularly good indicator of quality grassland.

“The ecological survey of this grassland provides enough evidence to designate it as a Local Wildlife Site or SINC. It is certainly one of the most species-rich, urban grasslands in Torfaen.”

Residents at Maesderwen Rise are in favour of the project, agreeing that: “it will encourage natural habitat”, provide “opportunity to view natural activities of birds, insects and viewing flora and fauna” and “bees and birds will be a lot happier in the spring and summer.”

Places and Spaces Manager at Bron Afon, Simon Morgan, said: “I can’t recall seeing so many bees and butterflies in one place. The sound of grasshoppers calling to each other is so rare these days but not in this small piece of nature heaven. We’re so grateful to residents for their support. It means we are all able to play our part in this important work.”

The Nature isn’t Neat project is supported by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe Investing in Rural Areas and is funded by the Welsh Government’s Enabling of Natural Resources and Well-being Grant.  The website for Nature Isn’t Neat includes more information and resources and can be found here: https://www.monlife.co.uk/outdoor/nature-isnt-neat/.

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