A Haven for Butterflies - the Importance of Llanymynech Hill
Once a hive of industry, Llanymynech Hill SSSI is now a peaceful wildlife haven which straddles the border between England and Wales. The limestone loving grasses and plants that carpet large arias of the hill form an ideal habitat for butterflies. The Llanymynech Butterfly Project, managed by Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust and Shropshire Wildlife Trust, aims to strengthen the populations found there by improving the condition on the site and undertaking monitoring work to get a better picture of which butterflies are present at Llanymynech and in what numbers. The project area includes the Welsh and English side of Llanymynech Rocks Nature Reserve and the Llanymynech Golf Course.
Insufficient grazing of the area has seen scrub and trees take hold, reducing the areas of open grassland and flowering plants which the butterflies need to feed and breed. The Llanymynech Butterfly Project aims to improve the quality of the habitat and increase the numbers and diversity of butterflies on the site through a programme of work which includes:
- Using contractors and volunteers to remove scrub from the limestone grassland.
- Reintroducing grazing using sheep/cattle, which can cope with both the terrain and the nutrient poor scrub.
- Recruiting and training volunteers to monitor and survey for butterflies.
- Encouraging members of the local community and other visitors to support the project through volunteering and surveying.
The sheep have been removed due to inconsiderate dog owners and have been replaced with Dexter cattle, which are more tolerant to dogs and people.
Dexter Cattle at the Llanymynech Nature Reserve