Creating meadows for wildlife, art and people

In partnership with arts organisation Peak, we've been working with artist Rebecca Chesney to make life better for wildlife and people on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal.

Woman with spade planting along the canal Planting along the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal

Between 19 and 23 April Rebecca and a team of volunteers are planting native species of wildflowers at Pontymoile with the aim of encouraging more insects, birds, frogs and toads to the area.

A greener, more colourful canal side is not only good for fauna and flora - improving the habitat for wildlife also makes it better for human visitors, as people’s wellbeing is known to benefit from time spent by water, surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature.

The project

The project, Pont-y-Ddôl, (bridge over the meadow) will include changes to Glandŵr Cymru’s regular grass mowing regime along the canal bank (which involves only mowing a narrow strip either side of the towpath) to increase and improve habitat for wildlife. A mini wildflower meadow will be left to flower and flourish as a green legacy. And south of the Pontymoile Basin three native species will be planted – yellow flag iris, purple-loosetrife and meadow sweet.

Part of the project will see Rebecca develop monitoring kits for people to record the plants and insects they spot this summer and also note how what they see and hear positively affects their mood. The Trust is looking for volunteers to monitor the existing meadow and new habitats between May and October 2021. A series of summer events are planned for more people to get involved.

Making our canals more attractive

David Morgan, Glandŵr Cymru development manager Wales, explains: “Our waterways are wildlife superhighways and there are many ways we can make them even more attractive to the animals, plants and insects that make them home.

“This project brings artists and communities together to explore the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal as a place for creativity, biodiversity and wellbeing. We cannot wait to see what the planting, new mowing regime and wildlife meadow with bring and we know that it will enhance this special waterside landscape. And we look forward to welcoming more visitors to share it with us over the coming months and years.”

Ribbons of colour along our waterways

And Rebecca Chesney adds: "After a year of delay because of the pandemic, I am absolutely thrilled we are planting the three species of flowers along the canal edge near the Pontymoile Basin as planned. When they have established, the plants will create ribbons of colour along the water’s edge, as well as providing habitat and food for a variety of insects. I am really looking forward to seeing how it develops in the coming months and into the future."

The project is being delivered in partnership with arts organisation Peak and Community Interest Company In Our Nature with support from Arts Council of Wales and Colwinston Trust and Arts & Business Cymru. The plants are supplied by Habitat Aid. Pont-y-Ddôl is the latest in the series of Hinterlands Wales projects.