About Us


When we moved in to our house in Leechpool in 2002 one of the first things we noticed was the lack of Farmland birds despite the amount of pastureland, copses and small ponds in the area. This made us start to think of ways to improve things for wildlife and in particular farmland birds. When the field in front of our house was about to change tenancy we approached the County Farms Unit who were very supportive of our ideas to manage a section of the field for wildlife and allowed us to present these ideas to the County Farms Committee. With their agreement we were able to take over the tenancy of just under 5 acres of the field from April 2007. The field was made up of pasture land with a small wooded area.

With no time to lose we initiated the first phase of our plans and started planting hedgerows and another small woodland section with mixed native trees and shrubs to improve shelter and food for birds. Strips of sacrificial crops have been sown to help provide a good winter food source and shelter for farmland birds. The crops we used in the first year were biennial mixes of Setter and WM1. Two more strips have been introduced this year to increase the food and shelter provided by the crops. Although this year the only difference is that we have made up the seed mix ourselves as we found that the Kale did not do well in our soil.

Kestrel in box

The main section is to be managed as hay meadow. With careful management the intention is to restore it back to species-rich hay meadow over time. This will provide an attractive and rich habitat for insects which in turn provides food for much of our farmland wildlife in particular birds and bats. The grassland already shows potential with some indicator plants surviving such as meadow vetchling, common cats ear and grass vetchling. Through linking with Gwent Wildlife Trust's Gwent Grassland Initiative we have been able to gain advice and have become a receptor site for locally harvested wild flower seeds to help improve the seed bank and assist us with restoring it to species-rich meadow. The seed was put down last year and this year we are already seeing signs of improvement with yellow rattle coming in. We have installed a variety of different bird nest boxes and have installed 2 Barn Owl boxes this year as suitable nesting places are becoming reduced in number with the changing uses of farm buildings.

Leechpool Holdings are a collection of former small holdings and farms. Set up by the Welsh Land Settlement Society. The Welsh Land Settlement Society Limited was established in 1936, with the aim of providing employment for men from high unemployment areas. It was an agency of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. The Society set up 'Welsh Land Settlements', throughout the Principality, purchasing land for agricultural use. After the Second World War, the farms proved unable to meet early market requirements, and the company's land and other interests were transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries then onto the local authorities. Most have now been sold off or turned into much larger productive farms. There are still several working smallholdings.

About Us | News | Sacrificial Crops | Meadow Management | Wildlife Gallery
Seasonal Journal | Owl Boxes | Future Plans | Contact Us



Gwent wildlife trust




Creating Media