Rebecca Chesney

Rebecca Chesney

Pont-y-Ddôl Peak and Canal & River Trust, Wales 2018 - 2021

In 2018 I was invited to create new work at the Pontymoile Basin on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal in Wales as part of the Hinterlands Cymru programme.
I have created a small meadow at the Basin to enhance the biodiversity and to encourage the insect population, and planted 500m of wildflower species along the water edge.

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Pont-y-Ddôl (bridge over the meadow). The new meadow at the Basin is 265 m². Photograph taken in 2019.

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The new meadow was created by taking the plot out of the cutting regime (the bank opposite the meadow remains in the cutting regime).

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Over 40 different plant species have been counted in the meadow plot, attracting bumblebees, butterflies, damsel and dragonflies, beetles, spiders, hoverflies, ants, flies,
moths and ladybirds etc…

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As part of the meadow maintenance the whole plot was cut in early November 2019 (left image) with all the cuttings removed and the ground scarified with rakes.
The plot was then seeded with yellow rattle (middle image) to help suppress vigorous grasses.
I have collected plant specimens from the plot (right image) to make pressing sheets.

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Left image: Hemlock water dropwort collected from the meadow plot in 2019. Plant specimen, label, stamp on paper 29 x 42cm
Right image: Woody nightshade collected from along the canal in 2019. Plant specimen, label, stamp on paper 29 x 42cm

Pont-y-ddol maps
Maps showing the location of the 500m of wildflowers planted along the canal water edge.
Three different species have been chosen to be planted in long blocks: purple loosestrife, yellow flag iris and meadowsweet.
This will create a visual impact with ribbons of colour and extend habitat for bees and other insects.

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In April 2021 volunteers helped plant the 500m of wildflowers along the canal water edge. The turf was removed by hand, then hundreds of plug plants were introduced into the canal bank. The planting was in partnership with In Our Nature, a conservation charity based in Pontypool.

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The images above, taken by Vee Brannovic (In Our Nature), are from summer 2021. All three species have established well, with the purple loosestrife flowering in the first summer.
They will all continue to grow and flourish in years to come.

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In spring 2022 I designed and made kits (in Welsh and English) for local participants to help monitor and record plant and insect species in the existing meadow at Pontymoile Basin, and the new habitats created along the canal. Each kit comprises flower ID cards, note book and pencils, record cards to fill out, and a set of colour cards showing the variety of colours to be found in the nature along the canal.


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