In the UK we have lost over 90% of our wetland habitats and our remaining freshwater resources are in a poor state due to pollution from agricultural runoff, poor hydrological management, and invasive species.
Culm pasture, or purple moor grass pasture, has declined by 92% since 1900 and is a priority habitat in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.
This site was marginal rushy grazing pasture with low diversity hedgerows. It is in the North Devon Biosphere Reserve and falls in the priority area for brown hairstreak butterfly conservation. The site is just north of Dartmoor and has great potential for increasing hedgerow and pasture diversity. We are also working in adjacent fields to reconnect fragmented broadleaved woodland patches, creating a contiguous woodland area, rich in lichens and mosses from existing veteran trees.
We will be creating a 0.3 hectare pond with surrounding reeds and restoring a purple moor grass (culm) meadow, rich in rare wildflowers including devil’s bit scabious and ragged robin.
The meadow will be interspersed with patches of wetland specialist woodland planting including willows and black poplar. We will work to diversify the hedge line by incorporating oaks and fruit bearing tree species such as crab apple and wild pear. Our management scheme for the hedges will avoid flailing to improve the habitat for brown hairstreak butterflies.