Anwen and her mixed breed herd of twenty cattle graze at Dare Valley Country Park near Aberdare. Anwen and her herd featured on season 3 of Iolo’s Welsh Parks, when they were celebrated for their assistance maintaining the habitat here for an endangered Welsh species.
Dare Valley is a park which has been sculpted by nature and people and is a haven for wildlife lovers, with 500 acres of woodlands, pasture and mountain moorland. Rhos pasture can be found on site, a species-rich habitat of purple-moor grass and rush, a Welsh speciality!
Rhos pasture provides cover for birds such as snipe and curlew but is perhaps most famous as habitat for the endangered marsh fritillary butterfly. Marsh fritillary caterpillars form larval webs in the tussocks that are indicative of this habitat and feed on the leaves of the beautiful devil’s-bit scabious, which flourishes in Rhos pasture.
PONT worked with the council to engage the help of local grazier Mark Powell to introduce cattle on to the Rhos pasture from April to November each year, to manage the habitat and keep it in favourable condition for breeding marsh fritillary. The long-term survival of this butterfly relies on grazing to maintain the perfect conditions for breeding (Butterfly Conservation Trust). This should be with cattle or ponies, which are selective grazers, rather than sheep, which can graze the food plant out of the habitat.
Dare Valley Country Park is managed by Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council.
Would you like to show off your grazing animals? You can enter your animals for the chance to feature as ‘Grazer of the Week’ by using #grazeroftheweek and tagging @pontcymru on Instagram and Facebook. Tell us a bit about you and your animals, we love to hear your stories.
By tagging PONT Cymru in your photos you agree that they can be used on our website or shared on social media at a later date with a credit.
Contact us if you have a site that needs conservation grazing.