So far, the project has worked with the community and local schools to plant a community orchard with 30 Welsh heritage fruit trees for both people and wildlife to enjoy. These fruit trees will grow between 10 and 15ft and have been grafted onto dwarf rooting stocks to limit their size. The orchard will provide fruit for the community to use as well as providing a food resource for pollinating insects and other wildlife.
Now, the Council and Local Nature Partnership are consulting with residents over further plans to enhance biodiversity at St Cyres Park, Penarth.
The proposals include the following:
1. Expansion of woodland by natural regeneration
The project proposes to use this natural and effective method of increasing tree cover in areas where there is already a natural seedbank present.
- Naturally regenerated trees often survive better than planted trees due to their wider genetic diversity ensuring they are more resilient to a changing climate, pests and diseases.
- Natural regeneration can create more natural landscapes and species mixes that are more beneficial for wildlife.
- Natural regeneration also delivers benefits such as improving water quality or reducing downstream flood risk.
- Naturally regenerated saplings are hardier than planted trees and can respond better to drought conditions which are becoming more frequent.
The southern boundary may be temporarily fenced off to allow the grassland to regenerate into scrub and woodland with minimal disturbance. Scrub, although can look ‘messy’ and unmanaged, provides an opportunity for tree seedlings to establish. Young trees often survive better if they develop with thorny scrub e.g. blackthorn or bramble.
Existing access will be retained for all park users who wish to access the woodland areas and signage will be made available to keep park users updated with progress.
2. Establishment of wildflower meadow areas
The project proposes to establish small areas of wildflower meadow. These areas will be enhanced using locally sourced wildflower seed from the best meadows in the Vale of Glamorgan helping to create new meadows for people and nature to enjoy. These meadow areas will be managed appropriately to allow flowers to grow and set seed throughout the Spring and Summer months. They will be cut and collected in early Spring and late Summer/early Autumn and paths will be mown throughout these areas to ensure access for all park users.
In the UK, we have lost 97% of our wildflower grasslands since the 1930s as a result of urbanisation and changes in how we manage land. Wildflower meadows are one of our most biodiverse habitats supporting a huge range of different plants and animals, including fungi, insects, mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and wildflower plants.