Laura Bowen, Sands of LIFE Project and Monitoring Officer South, joins us to shed light on the upcoming fencing work as part of the project’s ambitions to protect and enhance the wildlife that have made Kenfig National Nature Reserve their home.
What is proposed?
In partnership with Kenfig Corporation Trust, Natural Resources Wales’ (NRW) Sands of LIFE project team is proposing to erect a new 5km livestock fence at Kenfig National Nature Reserve to allow an extra 200 hectares of dune grassland to be grazed sustainably for the benefit of rare wildlife.
Why is this work required?
Kenfig is designated as National Nature Reserve (NNR), a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) because of the rare and threatened sand dune habitats and species it supports.
Much of the importance of the site lies in its characteristic dune grassland and dune slack plant communities, which are declining in quality. Grazing helps slow down and stop the otherwise inevitable losses to these internationally important habitats and associated rare species.
It also helps to control coarse grasses, bracken and scrub, and grazing animals can also create small patches of bare ground which are vital to the specialist flora and fauna found on the dunes.
Currently the northern part of the site is grazed, proving to be a successful method in providing a better-quality habitat resulting in more flowering plants.
The new fence will allow cattle to graze across a larger area than is currently possible (an additional 206 hectares in the southern part of the site). This will improve the quality of the dune habitats and help safeguard and enhance them for the long term.