At the heart of INCC’s work in the Amman Valley is community nature conservation.

Local people of all ages and abilities are able to have a direct role in helping conserve wildlife in their landscape. INCC have been working with the residents of the Valley for over 5 years to enthuse and involve local people with the wildlife around them.

Over the last few years community events have been organised with the support of the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park, Cwmaman Town Council and National Lottery Awards for All. The events are designed to highlight the ecological importance of the Amman Valley and inspired local communities to get involved in nature conservation.

The Amman Valley in spring

Members of the community have been invaluable in helping build numerous wildlife boxes for Dormice, Bats, Hedgehogs, and birds including Pied Flycatchers and Kestrels. Local schoolchildren have become Hedgehog champions in the Valley and recently decorated a number of Hedgehog boxes, one of which has been put in the school grounds, and others will be distributed around the Valley.

Guided wildlife walks for local communities have been run every year since 2019. Many local residents were able to see the nest boxes that they helped make being used by Pied Flycatchers and other woodland birds. The wildlife walks were designed to inspire people about local wildlife and encompassed a variety of Amman Valley habitats. Habitats in the valley include upland heath, bog, woodland, marsh, meadow, scrub and river and stream.

A spring walk around the Amman Valley in 2023 (Photo (c) Ellyn Baker)

Other walks have focused on bats, the dawn chorus, wildflowers and more. The walks, coupled with volunteer days making woodland bird nest boxes, provided a stepping stone for people of all ages to explore the valley’s wildlife and to take a greater interest in its conservation.

Listening out for Cuckoos on a dawn chorus walk in 2023 (Photo (c) Carla Williams)

The success of the original community nature conservation project led to the development of a number of other species and habitat conservation projects. Recently INCC has been able to employ someone to run a Hedgehog and House Martin project in the Valley. As part of this, dozens of Hedgehog boxes will be given out to residents, and specialist House Martin nest cups will be installed on buildings in areas good for the species.

House Martin in the Amman Valley collecting mud for its nest

Early in 2020, INCC was able to create a community polytunnel dedicated to growing wildflowers and promoting sustainable horticulture and wildlife gardening. With support from local partners and communities, INCC was able to develop and launch the ‘Joint Vision for Nature Conservation in the Amman Valley’. The document sets the foundation for all future community nature conservation activities in the valley. Since then, INCC has developed a large wildlife garden with a bigger polytunnel to enhance the work we are able to do in the Valley.