BWRDD ARTHUR SITE OF SPECIAL SCIENTIFIC INTEREST
Bwrdd Arthur (D Perkins 2003)
What is ‘special’ about Bwrdd Arthur SSSI?
Bwrdd Arthur SSSI has 4 special features.
Calcareous dry heath characterised by heather and western gorse with lime tolerant species such as common rockrose and quaking grass.
Hoary rockrose (Helianthemum canum) and ivy broomrape (Orobanche hederae)
Uncommon moss flora including: Bryum canariense, B. elegans and Isothecium striatulum
As well as the features listed above, Bwrdd Arthur SSSI has other habitats that contribute to the special interest. These include scrub, hedgerows, small rock outcrops or individual trees. This mixture of habitats is important for much of the wildlife and these
Common rockrose (D Perkins 2003)
too are a key components of the special interest of the site. Unless specified below, management of this site should aim to look after these habitats as well as the listed features of interest.
The site should be a mosaic of limestone grassland, heathland and scrub habitats. The limestone grassland should contain common rockrose, pale St. John’s-wort, long stalked crane’s-bill and meadow oat-grass. The limestone exposures should be maintained in a suitable condition (free of scrub) to support hoary rockrose. Heathland areas, containing abundant heather, bell heather and western gorse, should have a diverse structure, including approximately 10% bare ground. Scrub should comprise common gorse, elder, hawthorn, blackthorn and bramble, but should not exceed 30% of the SSSI area. A strong population of ivy broomrape should be present on ivy covered limestone walls and scrub on the east side of the site. The unusual bryophyte assemblage (including: Bryum canariense, B. elegans and Isothecium striatulum) should occur on the south-facing slopes of the site.
What management is needed on Bwrdd Arthur SSSI and why?
Although Bwrdd Arthur SSSI is an excellent place for wildlife it will only remain so if the necessary management continues. CCW’s aim is to work with you to ensure that this management is carried out.
What does this mean in practice?
There are many factors that could damage the special features at Bwrdd Arthur SSSI if they are not properly managed. These are the ones we regard as most important:
Low soil fertility helps characteristic calcareous grassland species and heathland of heather and western gorse to compete against more aggressive agricultural grasses. The application of any fertiliser or slurry should be avoided and animals should not be fed with silage on the site.
Light grazing encourages the development and maintenance of dwarf shrub heath. Cattle and horses are preferred as they are less selective in their grazing habits than sheep, permitting more plants to flower and set seed, whilst also breaking up dense clumps of gorse and trampling bracken fronds to control its spread. They also produce minor poaching of the ground enabling seedlings to establish.
Flowering plants, including hoary rockrose, are susceptible to sheep grazing in summer. If possible sheep should therefore be excluded or reduced at this time of year.
Controlled winter patch burning rejuvenates heather and gorse and helps reduce soil fertility. Fire-breaks are essential to maintain control and prevent the spread of wildfires which can seriously damage invertebrate and reptile communities. Burning management should be carried out through a rotation of small controlled burns.
Scrub provides bird nesting sites and food and shelter for invertebrates, but too much can alter the nature of the site. If grazing is inadequate to control scrub growth cutting and treating the stumps or killing in situ may be necessary. Similarly, if bracken increases it may be necessary to carry out an agreed control programme of crushing and /or herbicide spraying.
Our knowledge of wildlife is far from complete. It is possible that new features of value may appear and new management issues may arise in the future, whilst other issues may disappear. This statement is written with the best information we have now, but may have to change in the future as our understanding improves. Any information you can provide on the wildlife of your site, its management and its conservation would be much appreciated.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of your SSSI, or have any concerns about your SSSI, please contact your local CCW office.
Your local office is;
Cyngor Cefn Gwlad Cymru/Countryside Council for Wales
Llys y Bont,
Ffordd y Parc,
Gwynedd, LL57 4BN,
Fax: 01248 679259