wildlife at old lands
Sam Bosanquet, our resident naturalist grew up at Old-Lands and learnt his natural history in lost hours as a boy wandering through the fields learning the names of all that he stumbled across. He has been monitoring and recording flora and fauna found on land for the last 25 years and has written several books about his particular specialism, moss. He does weekly walks around the estate on a Saturday between the beginning of May and the end of September, Easter holidays and half terms showing people what can be found there. To join a walk please email email@example.com.
Old Lands is surrounded by 30 acres of parkland that was established in the late 18th century and holds Oak, Turkey Oak and Beech trees. Many of these have dead ‘stag’s-horn’ branches that are home to an important array of parkland insects, including the Red Data Book beetle Lymexylon navale, which has not been recorded anywhere else in Wales, and the strikingly red longhorn beetle Pyrrhidium sanguineum. Although the insect fauna is rich and diverse, our rare species struggle to find nectar and pollen to feed on as adults (their larvae eat dead wood). The management of the parkland aims to make it even better for insects: reverting the grassland between the trees from a species-poor mix of grasses to a flower-rich nectar source, and introducing clumps of hawthorns and blackthorns to provide pollen and nectar for the beetles. Key to this conversion is reducing the fertility of the grassland – because most wildflowers are outcompeted by grasses when nutrient levels are high – by cutting silage (for the first few years) and then cutting hay. When the silage or hay is removed from the fields, the nutrients go with it and the grassland is left more suitable for wildflowers. The use of ‘green hay’ from the flower-rich lawn of the big house and Caewern Triangle to introduce 100% local wildflower seed to the fields. Already species such as Knapweed and Devil’s-bit Scabious have spread out from their relict sites, and you can help map their spread by marking them on one of our monitoring sheets.
Increasing the diversity of wildflowers will benefit the parkland beetles, and also many insects that feed on meadow grasses and flowers, including Essex Skipper and Marbled White butterflies, Six-spot Burnet, Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet and Burnet Companion moths, and a range of grasshoppers including Long-winged Conehead. Small mammals including voles will increase, and their predators including Weasels, Stoats and Barn Owls should become commoner too.
Free Walk & Talk with Sam looking at grassland restoration, habitat management and the impact of rural pollution
10.30am 17th & 18th June 2022
Come to a free walk & talk with ecologist Sam Bosanquet, who will be looking at grassland restoration, the contrast between mowing and grazing regimes, siting of tree planting and the implications of air pollution on grassland management. Working with local farmers, Sam is re-connecting surviving fragments of ancient grassland, providing landscape-scale nectar sources for insects and planting trees to safeguard the future of rare wood-pasture beetles. Sam is offering a 3 hour walk through fields and parkland at Old Lands, SE Wales where more than 3000 different species have been recorded in the last 25 years.
The 3 hour session will include a break of half an hour for people to enjoy the packed lunch that they have brought with them.
Max 30 participants for each session – please register your interest with Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org or buy a free ticket on eventbrite