A Wilder Herefordshire Project

We are excited to announce that we will be working this summer to support  Herefordshire Wildlife Trust deliver a part of their Green Recovery Challenge Fund project ‘A Wilder Herefordshire’.

Herefordshire Meadows will be working with landowners across the county to identify and select new, grassland Local Wildlife Sites (LWS). As well as surveying these botanically diverse sites we will also be providing landowners with advice, support and bespoke management plans to help maintain these species rich sites.

Not only are Local Wildlife Sites some of the most valuable wildlife areas in the UK, there are a number of benefits to having LWS status attached to a landholding including:

  • LWS status is an indication of the great value of the biodiversity of the land and acknowledges the landowner’s excellent management over many years. They cover a small % of the county and are a positive asset in the eyes of many and may offer an edge in the diversification of farming enterprises.
  • Local Wildlife Sites are just that – LOCAL. They reflect what is important, valuable and distinctive in Herefordshire and they make a huge contribution to wider ecological networks throughout the county (note: there is overall guidance from Defra for LWS systems but site selection is local through a panel against local criteria)
  • Receipt of botanical survey data and habitat management plans/options with sign-posting to grants and other support.
  • Survey information which can be used as a baseline for future agri-environment schemes e.g. ELMS and notably the Local Nature Recovery strand where payments by results may also be a feature.
  • Evidence of sward diversity (gained from a botanical survey) can be used to gauge likely carbon sequestration potential for possible future carbon credits as well as potential soil health status.
  • Provides an element of protection (a general presumption against development).
  • A baseline botanical survey revealing good plant diversity can provide a route to the Priority Habitats Inventory (freely available on Defra’s Magic Map) which in turn gives access to higher agri-environment scheme payments e.g. Countryside Stewardship GS6 option for species rich grassland.

If you think you have a candidate grassland site  on your land we would love to hear from you.  Candidates will be very high quality species rich grassland, at least , if not more species rich than those in GS6 option or on the Priority Habitat Inventory.  Please email Caroline Hanks, Sue Holland or Rory Johnson.

You can find out more information about the Wilder Herefordshire project here.

A map of all the existing Local Wildlife Sites can also be found here and you can contact Sam Price at HWT to find out more about what the project can offer for existing LWS owners.