A feast for the senses, Rhossili’s spectacular sunflower display saw visitors and pollinators flock in their thousands to the Gower coastline this summer. Now, the National Trust is inviting the public to do their bit to safeguard the landscape and its wildlife for the future, with the launch of a new fundraising appeal to deliver more for nature in 2020.
The conservation charity, which has reintroduced traditional ‘strip field’ farming methods to the Vile on Rhossili, needs to raise £15,000 to continue its restoration project across 45 hectares of farmland.
Over the last three years, the Vile has thrived with the Trust’s wildlife-friendly farming practices of planting flower crops, alongside more traditional arable crops and wild flower meadows. These measures have helped improve biodiversity and provide a food source for bees, butterflies and winter nourishment for birds such aslinnets, skylarks and goldfinches.
Mark Hipkin, Area Ranger for the National Trust on Gower, explains: “The Vile at Rhossili is not only popular with our visitors, it’s become a safe haven for pollinators, with more than a quarter of a million bees and butterflies feasting on crops of sunflowers, lavender and poppies. The crops also help sustain flocks of farmland birds in winter.
“It shows that nature is just waiting for us to give a helping hand and the results can be hugely rewarding.”
With the public’s support, the team hope to be able to expand and enrich this priority habitat for wildlife, with ambitions to plant 650,000 sunflowers, 15 hectares of wild flower meadows and one hectare of lavender in 2020. A donation of £10 would help grow an area the size of a tennis court of completely organic flower-rich arable crops.
“By donating to this appeal, you are making a difference to wildlife at Rhossili, creating habitats where bees and butterflies can thrive, helping to buck the trend of national decline,” Mark adds.
If you would like to donate to the appeal, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/rhossili-appeal