INCC and volunteers have transformed a piece of land in the Amman Valley into a wildlife garden, now thriving with wildlife and open to visitors.

In early 2022 INCC took over responsibility for an area of land next to the bowls pavilion in Garnant, with the idea of creating a wildlife garden for use by local people as well as to help with some of INCC’s flagship conservation projects.

One of the key aims of the project was to install a polytunnel that would allow INCC staff and volunteers to grow Devil’s-bit Scabious plants for the Marsh Fritillary project (link). Scabious and other wildflowers are also grown to help habitat restoration projects in the Valley and elsewhere (link).

Polytunnel construction in February 2022
Volunteers tending wildflower seedlings

One of the best ways of improving an area for wildlife is to dig a pond, however small. The garden was big enough to allow a good size pond which was dug in the spring and rapidly filled up naturally. The pond has a range of depths and was colonised quickly by Palmate Newts (Lissotriton helveticus) and diving beetles.

Digging the pond in March 2023
Wildflowers starting to thrive in May 2023

Once wildflowers had begun to flourish in summer the pond looked very natural and was very popular with dragonflies and damselflies.

The areas of grass are now being managed as a hay meadow, but so far there has been relatively little biodiversity in the grassland (apart from a very welcome orchid!) so we have given it a helping hand. Thanks to support from LocalGiving, volunteers have been hard at work planting an array of native wildflowers and shrubs that will provide food for invertebrates throughout the year. We have created boggy areas, patches of long grass, small areas of dense scrub for nesting birds as well as a small woodland. These diverse habitats should ensure that the garden attracts as much wildlife as possible.

Volunteers planting out native wildflowers

The garden and polytunnel is also a hub to engage with the local community and get people involved in local nature conservation. We have hosted local groups and schoolchildren building hedgehog boxes and sowing wildflowers amongst other things.

We have also been running wildlife themed events, including moth trapping, bat walks and habitat management days. We will also be opening the garden on set days over the summer for people to come and get involved in some of our work, or just to sit and relax and enjoy the garden. Please do come along!

Members of the public being shown some of the Marsh Fritillary caterpillars from INCC’s population reinforcement project