What is the "Parish Grasslands Project" ?
The PGP started in 2001 with the aims of raising interest in, and knowledge of, the grasslands on the former commons of St Briavels, Hewelsfield and Brockweir in the Wye Valley, and offering help and advice on grassland management.
A group of residents recognised that the flower-rich meadows and pastures of the Hudnalls (central to the Parish) and adjacent areas were an important component of our environment, but feared that grassland management was becoming more difficult with the downturn in income from cattle and sheep, and the difficulties associated with foot-and-mouth disease. We thought in response that a community-based initiative would help owners - most of whom are not farmers - to restore neglected fields and maintain them as attractive meadows and pastures, though we knew that many owners were happy with their current arrangements.
Since then we have: held indoor meetings on old orchard restoration, horse-pasture management and grassland butterflies; visited several properties to share experience of management; published several editions of a Newsletter; carried out a general survey of grassland condition; collected records of wild plants; published a guide to local flowers, two local walks leaflets and a small book on local grasslands; and enjoyed harvest barbecues. Several members entered the Stewardship Scheme run by DEFRA, and now enjoy financial support for management in return for limited undertakings on management. We have also collaborated with MMG to arrange Open Days to local flower-rich fields in early June of each third year.
- continue to raise interest through meetings, publications and display boards
- offer direct help for grassland owners who want help with grassland management
Our service, which is available to members, is free and based on our own local experience. We can also help identify any flowers of interest.
Anyone can join the PGP, whether or not they own grassland. We ask a subscription of £5 per annum to cover costs of meetings, Newsletter, phones, etc. Up to 80 people in or near the parishes have been members during the initial years, and meetings have attracted up to 60 participants