Meadow transformation in Snowdonia as local people take action

A group of people in north Wales are transforming a once heavily grazed field into a beautiful wildflower meadow.

Cae'r Ddôl is being restored to a wildflower meadow. © Robbie Blackhall-Miles

The gradual restoration of a grazed field in Llanberis, North Wales, has been undertaken by a growing group of local people, who aim to return it to a diverse native wildflower meadow.

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Owned by Padarn Country Park (part of Gwnedd County Council), it was grazed by both sheep and horses until the Friends of Cae’r Ddôl group took it on to manage as a meadow.

Known locally as Castle Meadow or Dol’s Meadow, Cae’r Ddôl is situated by Llyn Padarn (Lake Padarn) in Llanberis, and is popular with tourists and local dog walkers.

However, many of the visitors are unaware of the growing range of flowers present in the meadow – such as heath spotted orchid and devil’s bit scabious.

Devil's bit scabious in the meadow, with Snowdonia mountains in the background. © Robbie Blackhall-Miles
Devil’s bit scabious in the meadow, with Snowdonia mountains in the background. © Robbie Blackhall-Miles

Fauna sightings including kingfisher, otter and water vole.

“When I saw the first wild orchids growing there, I knew someone had to pay the meadow a bit more attention,” says Robbie Blackhall-Miles, a professional botanist and one of the founding members of the Friends.

The neighbouring lake is also home to a variety of wildlife, including floating water plantain, a European Habitats Directive Appendix 4 species, and Arctic char.

Both the lake and the meadow contain a variety of fauna and flora. © Robbie Blackhall-Miles
Both the lake and the meadow contain a variety of fauna and flora. © Robbie Blackhall-Miles

The Friends have been managing the meadow since 2014, including holding events and putting up interpretation boards.

“Last year we worked with local children to grow a meadow in and on a phone box on Llanberis High Street,” says Kath Wills, a member of the group. “It certainly helped to get people seeing and talking about meadows and we would like to be able to continue this work.”

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In the future, the Friends are hoping to increase accessibility to the meadow, and prevent erosion of the ditches and paths.