Coity Wallia Commons Biodiversity Enhancement Project

Raising awareness of issues through education and community engagement.
Improving priority habitats with particular emphasis on shrill carder bee, high brown fritillary and marsh fritillary.
Contributing to the local economy.

Coity Wallia Commons Biodiversity Enhancement Project was the Biffa Award Flagship Project for 2010.

The primary aim of the project was to restore and reconnect 1,063 hectares of priority habitats on Cefn Hirgoed and Mynydd y Gaer commons north of Bridgend.

With particular emphasis on management for the Marsh fritillary, High Brown Fritillary, the Bog Bush Cricket and the Shrill Carder Bee.

Coity Wallia Commons are close to the conurbation of Bridgend and are subject to anti-social behaviour.

Project Partners

Coity Wallia Commoners Association, Conservators of Coity Wallia Commons, Dunraven Estates, CCW/ NRW, Rockwool, Bridgend County Borough Council, South Wales Police, Green Lane Association, Treadlightly, Keep Wales Tidy, Fly Tipping Action Wales, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Butterfly Conservation, ARC Trust, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, John Muir Trust, SEWBReC, CoedCymru

Community Benefits

The project aimed to enthuse the local community about wildlife and the agricultural practices on the common. It promoted a greater understanding the issues and implications affecting the common in an effort to reduce anti social behaviour particularly illegal off road driving, fly tipping and arson.

  • Information booklets and website produced
  • On site interpretation
  • Waymarked walking routes established
  • Education packs created for schools
  • School visits delivered and hosted the John Muir Award
  • Attended local shows and carnivals
  • Patrolled with South Wales Police and implemented poster campaign
  • Burning plan in conjunction with the Commoners Association and South Wales Fire and Rescue
  • Guided walks, short courses and talks delivered by project officer and local experts
  • Volunteer task days

Economic Benefits

Efforts were made to encourage local graziers to utilise the common as part of their farm enterprise. The project has benefits for the economy of the local area.

  • Local contractors were used to carry out project works
  • Materials and equipment were sourced locally
  • Interpretation an publicity have enhanced tourism in the local area
  • Cattle leasing scheme has encouraged the establishment of a new herd of Devon Red Ruby cattle.
  • Provided machinery which can be used by the Commoners Association to manage habitats for both biodiversity and sustainable agriculture.

Natural Resource Benefits

The project has benefited the natural environment by improving conditions for wildlife, water quality and management and public access

  • Birch and willow scrub (7ha) was removed to restore rhos pasture.
  • Purple moor grass and rush. Soft rush dominated areas of former open cast land have been treated by weed-wiping with glyphosate (130 ha) and then aftercut. Areas of rank purple moor grass and rush were cut and collected (83 ha)
  • Birch and willow scrub (7ha) was removed to restore rhos pasture. •Invasive non-native species were targeted -Himalayan Balsam (5ha) has been topped, brush-cut and hand pulled by volunteers.
  • Upland oak woodland (66ha) has been managed by halo thinning, general thinning and ring barking, in order to create canopy gaps and leave standing and fallen deadwood. Footpaths maintained and waymarked.
  • Bracken control was carried out by rolling 189 ha of bracken covered slopes and 251 ha of flat and scattered bracken.
  • Livestock shepherded and mineral blocks distributed to keep livestock in desired areas. Particularly after mechanical treatment.
  • Five log frame otter holts constructed and otter surveys carried out.
  • 22 ponds and scrapes created or restored.
  • Wildflower meadow (3.2ha) seeded, plug planted and late annual hay cut taken.
  • Improvement in biological recording and the establishment of long term monitoring.
  • The return of breeding lapwing - first time since 1989!