Page 11 - EGO Magazine August 2019
P. 11

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 The Bird Man   “Nature was once                      flocks of overwintering farmland birds. Terry said, “I
                                                      once saw 100 redwing strip a holly bush of berries in 20
        regarded as the enemy
                                                      minutes. Hedges are fantastic habitat for birds. Perhaps,
        of good farming,                              if there was more financial help to manage them, they
 of Cors Caron By   whereas now we need                 To date, an impressive 160,000 trees and shrubs have
                                                      wouldn’t be so neglected.”
        to see that it’s the                          been planted at Cruglas including 50 acres of deciduous
                                                      woodland. Twenty acres of hay meadows have been
 Joe Dimbleby  farmer’s friend.”                      restored and game crop mixes provide seed for finches,
                                                      redpolls and siskins. On one of the  twelve new ponds
                                                      Terry has created an artificial bank embedded with
                                                      tubes for sand martins to nest and in winter he puts
                                                      out barley for migratory wildfowl. He is particularly
 Cors Caron. Shutterstock.com
 Terry Mills’ transformation of Cruglas Farm shows that   proud of a troupe of rare whooper swans, which take
 by supporting farmers in the right way, our          up residence every November. All this habitat creation
 lost wildlife will return                            is combined with vital predator control of foxes and
                                                      squirrels, magpies and crows in spring to protect nesting
                                                      songbirds.
 fter travelling the   has reduced his flock from 800 to 550
 winding pass through   breeding ewes. He said, “Areas fenced   Terry would like to see other farms in the area adopt
 the wild beauty of the   off from livestock have seen many plant   the conservation measures that have made Cruglas
 Cambrian Mountains,   species re-emerging including, marsh   such a success but acknowledges the challenges.
 you descend into the   cinquefoil and purple loosestrife.” But he   Cruglas benefits from a mix of revenue streams with
 Amagical landscape of   would stop short of total rewilding and   Government agri-environment grants making up about
 Ceredigion’s broad Teifi river valley.   believes farming and conservation can   50% of income, recently established holiday lets about
 At its centre, encircled by hills, is the   work together. He said, “Of the 720 acres   10% and farming around 40%. He said, “I’m lucky to be
 vast wetland of Cors Caron the largest   we manage, only 200-300 is half decent   able to put my profit back into conservation. Making
 raised bog in Britain. Famous for being   farmland, so there is plenty of room to   a living from sheep farming alone is very difficult,
 a safe haven for previously rare species   create more wildlife habitat as well as   but there is now money available for landscape scale
 such as the red kite and the polecat, the   producing food.”   projects.”
 region has the appearance of a wildlife   In addition to his 510 acres, Terry   Looking to the future, Cruglas is part of an application
 paradise, but its biodiversity has declined  rents another 210 acres of Cors Caron   for a grant for a community conservation project aimed
 in recent decades. Like many other parts   from the National Nature Reserve, which   at restoring wildlife to Cors Caron Reserve. The bid for
 of the country, farming policy focussed   borders the farm. It is grazed by a small   funding from Welsh Government is led by the Game
 on livestock production in the ‘70s and   suckler herd of Welsh Black cattle in   & Wildlife Conservation Trust and would see land
 ‘80s led to overgrazing and the loss of   summer. When sheep were on the bog   managers working together to achieve clear conservation
 mixed farming with its arable fields and   they ate all the rare plants but left the   goals. Terry said, “Nature was once regarded as the
 hay meadows.   juncus grass, which dominated and it   enemy of good farming, whereas now we need to see
 The challenge of restoring a piece of   has taken 10 years for the cattle to clear   that it’s the farmer’s friend.”
 countryside with potential to host a wide   it, allowing important species such as
 range of species drew Terry Mills and   sphagnum moss to return. Terry said,   In Wales we are using the Government funded
 his wife Jo to Cruglas Farm on the edge   “Welsh Blacks are much better foragers   Sustainable Management Scheme (SMS) to help
 of Cors Caron and since they took it on   than Continental breeds. They can digest   facilitate the GWCT-developed Farmer Cluster
 in 1996 wildlife has returned. Terry is an   the rougher grasses and graze in a more   concept. The scheme encourages farmers to
 ornithologist who has been fascinated   methodical way.”  work together in their locality, delivering greater
 by the natural world all his life. He said,   The other major transformation   benefits to wildlife, soil and water at a landscape
 “The farm was poor in biodiversity when   has been the restoration of traditional   scale. We have successfully helped set up several
 we moved here, but Nature is incredibly   features lost to grazing. Most of the   SMS projects across Wales and will be putting in
 rewarding, if you create the right habitat.   hedges had been eaten out by sheep so   a bid to help Terry and several other neighbouring
 Eighty species of bird have now bred   Terry found the tithe map from 1781 and   landowners around Cors Caron bog. What has
 of 144 sighted as well as 26 species of   replanted all the hedgerows marked on   been achieved at Cruglas is magnificent and the
 butterflies.”  it, 16km in total. Hedges aren’t cut lower   idea is to expand Terry’s efforts to a landscape
 The most dramatic effects have been   than 2.5m and only at the very end of   scale. For details, visit www.gwct.org.uk/wales
 where grazing has been restricted. Terry   winter to provide a larder for the large





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