A pioneering conservation project is beginning to breathe new life into one of Pembrokeshire’s most precious wildlife areas and is attracting interest from nature enthusiasts from all over Wales.
The project is located at Gupton Farm, which has recently come back under our direct management after many years as a tenanted cattle-rearing farm. The holding lies next to Freshwater West, one of the county’s most famous beaches. It includes Castlemartin Corse, a relic of what was once a much larger area of coastal wetland, as well as an expanse of superb flower-rich dune grassland.
The area is vulnerable to the effects of climate change and this, coupled with the need to find a more wildlife-friendly form of farming, has led us to develop a far-reaching vision for the site.
As Operations Manager Rebecca Stock explains, the project comes with some interesting challenges.
“Large parts of the farm are only 5 centimetres above high tides, meaning that the water table is rising on the wetland and with sea levels predicted to rise by up to a metre in the next 100 years, these will be tidal by the end of the century.”
But Rebecca and her team see this as an opportunity to be embraced rather than a threat.
“As the meadows around the Corse get wetter we need to find livestock able to cope with these conditions; we’ve been looking into using Highland cattle or even water buffalo. By combining a range of beneficial wildlife management approaches with the sensitive provision of public access to hides, we hope that the farm will eventually become a nature-lover’s paradise.”