TRE’ R GÔF SITE OF SPECIAL SCIENTIFIC INTEREST
Tre’ r Gôf has 2 special features.
Lime-rich wetland with associated plant communities, characterised by blunt flowered rush, black bog rush and great fen sedge.
The nationally scarce marsh fern.
As well as the features listed above, Tre’ r Gôf has other habitats that contribute to the special interest. These include a herb-rich meadow, pools, scrub and a few hedges.
This mixture of habitats is important for much of the wildlife including other rushes, meadow sweet, zigzag clover and several orchids including northern marsh orchid. There are also areas of common reed associated with grey willow. Bulrush (reed-mace) grows on wetter ground and in some ditches, with thread-leaved water-crowfoot on the bare mud. Birds present include jack snipe and stonechat.
Unless specified below, management of this site should aim to look after these habitats and species as well as the listed features of interest.
At least 95% of the site should be wetland. In this we would expect to see a range of different plant communities characteristic of low fertility wetland soils – the main elements of this vegetation would include great fen sedge, mixtures of black bog rush and blunt flowered rush, areas of lesser tussock sedge and common reed. Marsh fern should be abundant. Water levels and quality should be maintained to support these communities. Patches of grey willow should remain but should not be permitted to exceed 10% of the wetland area. A few scattered patches of gorse will be tolerated.
What management is needed on Tre’ r Gôf SSSI and why?
Although Tre’ r Gôf 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 Tre’ r Gôf if they are not properly managed. These are the ones we regard as most important:
Water level: Maintaining a high water table level is essential for the survival of wetland plants and animals. It is therefore important that no work is carried out which would lower or change in any other way water levels on the site – for example by widening or deepening ditches. However, some wetland plants and animals require very shallow surface water or moving groundwater, so deep or prolonged flooding can destroy these. Raising water levels should not be undertaken without careful assessment. Equally important is the need to maintain the current water supply to the site through springs, groundwater seepage, ditches and surface run off. Any actions that would reduce the amount of water entering Tre’ r Gôf would be damaging to the site.
Water quality: Good water quality is essential for maintenance of the characteristic assemblage of wetland plants and animals at Tre’ r Gôf. Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous encourage the spread of strong growing plants such as float-grass and common reed which can out-compete the less common (and more desirable) species at Tre’ r Gôf. This in turn would have a negative effect upon the animals that depend on these plants. Measures to enhance soil fertility within the catchment of the site are therefore likely to prove harmful to the special interest features of Tre’ r Gôf.
Water movement: Gradual movement of water from springs through the site is essential for the survival of the spring-water flushed wetland. In order to maintain this important passage of water through the site, great care in the management of water supply and levels is needed.
Grazing: Light grazing of wetlands removes excess plant material. The most appropriate grazers here are cattle or ponies as they can maintain open areas in wetland by browsing scrub and by light poaching of the ground. Cattle or ponies can be used to graze areas of grassland, but a rest period to permit flowering and seeding is required. Animal dung also provides an important food resource for some invertebrates. There should be no supplementary feeding with silage as this increases soil nutrient levels. Hay may be fed in severe weather, mineral licks used to enable the animals to digest coarse material and small quantities of concentrates to keep livestock tame.
Scrub control: Scrub (including willow and gorse) provides nesting places for birds and shelter for other animals. However too much scrub can alter the special qualities of the wetland site. Grazing alone may not be enough to prevent scrub expansion and it may sometimes be necessary to carry out control manually.
Fire: Fire was regularly used in the past to clear the land, promote new growth and attract grazing animals. However uncontrolled fires can damage some plant and animal communities and its use should be very strictly limited on fen. Small, controlled fires in winter may be used to rejuvenate patches of fen with excess leaf litter and to create more diversity of structure.
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