It’s almost 2 years since our Big Lottery funded project ‘Wildlife Where You Live’ came to an end.
During the 3 year project, we worked with 12 communities around Ceredigion helping them to learn more about their local wildlife, and identify and carry out environmental improvements.
I visited the lake on a sunny morning in mid-April, accompanied by the songs of willow-warblers and blackcap. Marsh marigolds were flowering in the alder carr, and a speckled wood butterfly flitted along the lake-side path in the dappled sunshine.
During the WWYL project, Llanilar residents took part in local wildlife walks and activities ranging from bat walks to pond-dipping to bird-box making. Much of our work was focussed around the Millenium Lake where WWYL supported the community with management of an overgrown alder carr area, bramble-clearance and other conservation activities.
WWYL also provided seating and a bug hotel, with the aim of increasing both biodiversity and local visitors to the area. The carved bench, made by volunteers as part of WWYL, is now a perfect place to sit and admire the view across the lake.
On the morning of my visit, it was obvious that the hard work had not stopped. Where once there was a tangle of brambles, there were now early Spring flowers emerging. This, I later learned, was made possible by funding from the central Women’s Institute body to buy native spring flowering bulbs – a whopping 900 of them! The local school came to the site and planted the snowdrops and Welsh daffodils, and the bluebells were planted by members of the W.I. and their partners.
The local WI group were one of the most enthusiastic community groups we worked with during WWYL. During the WWYL project they also applied to the Woodland Trust for 105 saplings, which WWYL helped them to plant. On the day of my visit, the trees were looking strong and healthy, and were just starting to come into leaf.
“The inspiration ,help and hard work, your team gave us, led to the possibility of investigating other sources of help/funding that might be available” Mrs Pam Jennings
After WWYL had finished, Llanilar successfully applied for the Co-operative community fund, and received funds to plant wildflowers. One local resident, Mrs Eirlys Jones, visits almost daily. She has spent endless hours, in all weathers, clearing large area of brambles (making possible the planting of the Spring bulbs) and maintaining all other areas. There are still wilder areas of course, such as the alder carr, and these are of huge importance to wildlife to allow them to feed and breed undisturbed.
It was an uplifting way to spend a morning, reflecting on the contribution of the WWYL project to this community, and to see the continued hard work and dedication of the local residents. If you are ever visiting Llanilar (the Ystwyth cycle track passes alongside), why not stop off and admire this wonderful local amenity? We hope the community of Llanilar, and the wildlife where they live, continue to thrive….
“I am sure that none of the above would have happened without “Wildlife Where You Live”. Your involvement has resulted in the change from an overgrown, neglected, rarely used area being transformed into an idyllic joy for villagers ,wildlife and plants” Pam Jennings, Llanilar.
The Wildlife Where You Live project has now come to an end, however at Denmark Farm we always welcome volunteers and other support to help maintain and improve the 40 acre nature reserve for the benefit of wildlife and people.