We took advice from many sources and decided, subject to making all necessary health and safety improvements so that safe access is possible for the community, to preserve the Parish Field as a species rich (primarily grassland) habitat for community and local educational use by:
o Preserving the existing species rich grassland
o Restoring, where practical, the grassland under threat from or damaged by scrub encroachment
o Where woodland is established, using this and scrub edges to create windbreaks and enclose sheltered grassland glades.
o Regularly maintaining roadside hedge to allow road access to the Rhiw and Cae Rhedyn
o Creating micro habitats if consistent with the primary grassland habitat
o Restoring boundaries
The management can be divided into remedial and maintenance:
Remedial management, which commenced in Autumn 2002 and still continues, includes:
· Removal of scrub and immature trees from field to encourage natural regeneration of grassland
· Removal or mitigation of field hazards:
o Removal barbed wire, glass, litter, metal and asbestos sheets
o Felling of diseased trees
o Quarry fencing
o Repairing boundaries
· During this period biodiversity was enhanced by new micro habitats:
o Dry stone wall on south boundary
o Deadwood from tree/scrub cutting (stacked to minimize grassland lost)
Maintenance management, which includes
o Encouragement of rabbit grazing by retaining of some scrub in thickets, boundaries and windbreaks.
o Annual cut of grass to prevent further scrub encroachment and dominance by aggressive species. The timing of the cut, in early Autumn, recognizes the late flowering Knapweed and Devil's Bit Scabious, and allows them to set seed.
o Removal of leavings to prevent litter build up and nutrient enhancement. The leavings are then composted in a sacrificial compost area, as we have not found an external market. The area chosen was already nutrient rich and shaded by mature sycamores and creates a further mini habitat.
o Annual cut of roadside hedge
o Control by topping, if feasible, of bracken, creeping thistle and rosebay willowherb.
o Removal of Himalayan Balsam part-established on adjacent common land