The landscape at Porthkerry Country Park ranges from plunging cliffs to rolling farmland. It includes a range of dynamic ecosystems, some left wild and many sensitively managed by the Ranger Service. It was also home to a 12-hole golf course which, in April 2019, was closed due to continuous flooding and increasing maintenance costs leading to its disuse by the public. This left 3.5 Hectares of amenity grassland which could be rewilded.
A Team Effort
With funding and support from the Vale of Glamorgan LNP, as well as Vale of Glamorgan Council, Waterloo Foundation, Welsh Water Community Fund, Landfill Trust Grant, Innovate Trust, Porthkerry Wildlife Group, conservation groups and volunteers, the work could begin!
The old golf course was allowed to grow naturally for the first few months to see what plants would naturally appear, work out desired lines for public access, identify areas which hold water and consult with community and other organisations. Next, flood alleviation measures such as widening the stream and cleaning out and widening ditches were carried out, and more ponds were created to benefit amphibians, reptiles, mammals, birds and invertebrates. Wildlife corridors were then created that link the ponds, wildflower areas and woodlands. Finally, to allow year-round appreciation of the rewilded area, boardwalks made of recycled plastic were erected.
A Nature-Rich Wales
“Rewilding holds out hope of a richer living planet that can once more fill our lives with wonder and enchantment.” - George Monbiot, author and campaigner
This project has provided a great platform to teach people about nature and its benefits. Education and learning areas have been established and panels have been put up to educate on the importance of meadow and pond habitats. Additionally, areas have been reserved to trial different wildflower enhancement methods.
The project relied on partnerships with external community groups, schools and volunteers from the surrounding area, and so it is a great example of the collaborative work that the LNP Project can offer.
The work has enhanced the sites ecosystem resilience today, and therefore hopefully for generations to come, as Councillor Jonathan Bird, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning said, “Reintroducing species to an area where they were once abundant is a great way of protecting biodiversity for future generations.
“The plans to carefully re-wild this area of the park will add to the visitor experience and we will help the many school groups that visit the park learn about the importance of biodiversity and sensitive land management."