Cattle have returned to Crynant’s Rhos Common this year for the autumn season.
Butterfly Conservation, PONT Cymru, Natural Resources Wales and Neath Port Talbot Council’s Countryside and Wildlife Team have been working together with local farmers to enable cattle to graze on the common once again.
This will benefit local wildlife and reduce hazards such as grass fires and flooding.
Grazing will help to better maintain the purple moor grass and rush pasture habitat of the common. This will benefit the rare Marsh Fritillary butterfly. This is a threatened European species declining rapidly in the UK. However, the butterfly has a stronghold in the Ystradgynlais and surrounding area and conservationists are working hard to preserve the populations.
Allowing cattle to graze the land will also reduce the potential fire load and hence the risk of deliberate grass fires. It will also improve the ability of the common to hold water, helping to reduce flooding during periods of wet weather.
Councillor Annette Wingrave, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainable Development, said: “We at Neath Port Talbot Council are really pleased to support this project. By enabling the cattle to graze safely on the common, we are protecting the habitat that is needed for the rare Marsh Fritillary butterfly to survive.”
Dai Rees, Head of Conservation for Butterfly Conservation Wales said: ‘’It’s fantastic to see cattle back once again which will benefit Marsh Fritillaries, local wildlife and local communities. Working together in partnership brings many rewards and I look forward to seeing the positive results in the future. ’’
Karl Hopkins, secretary of the Rhos Commoners Association said: "This is great news for graziers of common land, enabling safer grazing. Grazing the commons is important to support biodiversity and help combat climate change in Wales.".
Cattle have now returned to the common. Livestock may be near to the road and motorists are being advised to take due care and caution when cattle are on the common.