This was a three year project to raise local awareness of the rich wildlife to be found in and around Rhayader town and was funded by grants from Environment Wales.
The principal aim of the project was to involve local people in undertaking a biodiversity audit of their local area and to collate and submit all collected wildlife records to the county Biological Records Centre. From the start it was clear that to carryout a detailed survey of the whole district would be impractical, so, six locations were identified that typified the six principal habitats of the district. The six principal habitats are: moorland both wet and dry; ffridd with its associated areas of bracken, acid grassland, rock outcrops, gorse patches and scattered hawthorn trees; woodland both deciduous and conifer; farmland with its mosaic of improved and unimproved habitats from arable land to marshy rhos pasture and hedgerows; rivers, streams and other water bodies from the mighty River Wye to the garden pond; and the built environment of Rhayader town and its parks.
The six locations selected for survey (see map appendix 1) were: Maen Serth for its moorland; Gilfach for its ffridd; Coed y Cefn for its mixed woodlands; Nannerth fawr Farm for its mix of field and hedgerow; the River Wye (a length along the Riverside Walk); and the built environment of Rhayader town. At the start of year two the farmland location at Nannerth fawr Farm was replaced with a more typical area of farmland closer to the town and with a variety of public rights of way. Having public rights of way within each of the chosen sites was deemed important as they provided opportunities to view the various habitats.
Over the three years of the project 2038 records where collected during the organized, open to all, surveys of the six principal habitats at the six selected locations. In addition several hundred records were collected at the same locations by specialist surveyors so as to include records of bryophytes and lichens, moths, flies, beetles and other invertebrates.
All collected records were forwarded to the relevant county recorders and/or the Biological Information Service for Powys (BIS). Some of the records were of species previously unknown at the locality, some new for the county. The project has made a significant contributed to raising awareness of the area’s importance as a wildlife resource. Although the project came to an end at the close of 2012 the interest generated will much improve wildlife recording throughout the district into the future. Rhayader by Nature Local Natural History Society see the results of this project as just the beginning and hope to build on the project’s findings and make use of the identified representative locations in its educational work of the future.
Wildlife records collected during this project, along with those from all other wildlife recording contributors can be viewed via the Local Records Centres Wales Data Access Tool (DAT) at http://www.lrcwalesdat.org.
Accounts of each of the 6 surveys can be found within the site pages section, accesible via the home page.
Rhayader by Nature thank all those involved with this project; Environment Wales for providing the grant aid that made it possible, all the volunteers that gave so freely of their time and the considerable assistance provided by the professional local naturalists that made the field work especially meaningful and inspirational.