Despite the Amman Valley supporting some nationally scarce species, relatively little biodiversity information is known about the area.

INCC has always been keen to highlight the importance of the Amman Valley for biodiversity. The best way of doing that is to undertake ecological surveys. Identifying the presence and distribution of particular species enables INCC, to deliver better targeted conservation projects.

Recording particular species means that those species and their habitats will be afforded greater protection through the planning system. This will be achieved via the creation of Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs).

Local volunteers from the community have been able to play a leading role in the ecological surveys. Surveys and training days for volunteers have already been organised for Dormouse, bats and Marsh Fritillary.

Community volunteers undertaking a Dormouse survey in the Amman Valley

Thanks to support from the Brecon Beacons National Park, ecological surveys will continue throughout the valley for the next few years. This will add to our local and national understanding of many species and their habitats.

One of the key species that surveys have targeted is Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus). Hedgehogs have suffered devastating declines in recent years. It is clear that more needs to be done to prevent Hedgehogs from becoming extinct in Wales over the coming decades.

Amman Valley Hedgehog feeding in Hedgehog box

Identifying the distribution of Hedgehogs throughout the Amman Valley will help identify targeted conservation measures. These may include hedgerow creation, garden permeability and artificial foraging provision.

INCC have been testing the design of Hedgehog boxes to help Hedgehogs in the Amman Valley. Underweight Hedgehogs can now be fed in autumn to help them survive the winter months. This also helps increase the breeding population the following year.

A balance must be met as boxes must be accessible for Hedgehogs but inaccessible to domestic cats. With help and support of community volunteers, INCC is making and distributing Hedgehog boxes throughout the community (link). This will help identify the distribution of Hedgehogs and help them survive winter.

It doesn’t always work and some small cats do get in.

Other surveys include Pied Flycatchers (link), wildflowers, and moths.

Moth survey in INCC’s wildlife garden