Cae Bodfach, as we have named it is about 10 acres of grassland that was donated for community use and very not bio diverse at all, basically improved pasture land.
Snce started a small project here, initally as part of the Cwm Harry Get-Growing project We have sought to add to it in as many ways as possible since about 2014. We have added 80m of Willow coppice which also serves as a wildlife corridor as well as an annual biomass yield for use on the land. We made a sheltered herb garden from willow this year an added a living willow dome as well. We have added a wide selection of medicinal, native herbs and dye plants with the intention of propagating them and spreading them more widely around the field and surrounding area. We also hope they will self seed. We have sown a part of the field with yellow rattle to weaken grasses and allow in more diversity and this has taken well. As you will seee form the pictures we have worked with community members, pupils from the local school and specialists to develop the garden.
Over the course of the last few years the field now has 100 fruit trees each one a different heritage variety, apples plums pears and cherry. Lots of support species, like briars, flowering currents, elder, blackthorn, hazel, and we underplant with herbs, cuttings and whatever we are donated to keep adding to the diversity. We have been supported by Cwm Harry, National Lottery, ARWAIN, Wlesh Cider and Perry Society and Kew Gardens to get this far and the site is now becoming a hub for community acitivty through the work of the One School One Planet project
Cae Bodfach is a popular dog walking area and people are increasingly interested in the developments and we are getti glots of questions and encouragement. I think it is an excellent example of a low input biodiverse system that can survive on its own for a year or two if our attention turns else where. With a bit more input we could achieve a lot more.
We think we have created a valuable and replicable model for habitat restoration and diversity. Also we want to develop incomes from the site, apple pressing being an obvious one we are also talking to a willow specialist about increasing the biomass yield and value by selecting suitable varieties.
Expect much more from here, next week we are working iwht high school students from Ysgol Llanfyllin as part of their welsh Baccalaureate studies an we hope to use this to draw in wider community involvement.