A NEW wildlife and heritage project aiming to restore interest in neglected but vastly important moorland areas of Radnorshire has been launched.

The Rhos Pasture Restoration Project has been started by the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust and will focus on the rhos pasture – an important habitat which has dropped out of agricultural management over recent years. This wildlife and heritage project seeks to get it back into traditional management to benefit both local farmers and landowners, as well as the local wildlife.

The project will be funded through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

The rhos pasture has traditionally been areas of species-rich grass and rush pastures. It is essentially marshy grassland usually managed by low level grazing of cattle. Its varied structure supports internationally important wildlife.

The long, tough grasses and rushes can provide cover for Snipe and Curlew. It also supports important and rare species of butterfly including the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, and the Marsh Fritillary. The Marsh Fritillary is thought to be extinct in Radnorshire, and this species and its recovery in region is one of the aims of the project.

This project will carry out studies to formulate best practice options for managing rhos pasture and will be a pilot study to inform the rhos pasture management across Wales.

Viv Geen, the Rhos Pasture Restoration project manager, said: “It is exciting to be part of this project because it not only assesses the ecology of rhos pasture and its agricultural benefits, but it also includes an art and heritage aspect.

“This will involve the local communities within Radnorshire; their memories of rhos pasture and how it inspires them.”

A community arts and heritage officer will soon join the project and will coordinate events and exhibitions around the county. Covid-19 will have an impact on the events on the ground initially, but digital events will feature throughout the year.

Volunteers will be needed to help with both the ecological surveys and the arts and heritage activities. If you would like to help with this interesting project, or if you have a Radnorshire rhos pasture in your ownership that you would like to tell us about, contact Viv on viv@rwtwales.org.