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Well over 1000 orchids counted at Orchid Meadows

Volunteers surveyed fields at Orchid Meadows yesterday and counted 1343 flowering orchid heads, far more than was expected. The data will be used as a starting point in a programme to increase numbers further over the coming years.

The orchid count focused on the central meadows area and was carried out by members of the Lampeter Permaculture Group, which promotes food production carried out in harmony with nature.

The orchids counted have been identified by the South and West Wales Wildlife Trust as a hybrid between heath spotted orchid and perhaps southern or northern marsh orchid. They come in a range of shades ranging from near white, through pink to purple and present an attractive picture when in full flower.

Site owner Stephen Hounsham said: “Whilst these orchids are not listed as scarce, no orchids can be described as common anymore due to modern methods of land management. We will do our best over the next five years to maximise the populations of these and other wild flowers on our land. This will have a knock-on effect on numbers of insects and farmland birds.”

The meadows are managed traditionally with no artificial fertilisers or pesticides. They are cut for haylage – a cross between hay and silage – in late August after most wild plants have flowered and set seed. The feed is used at a nearby horse training centre. Orchid seed is collected from the fields before cutting and scattered and trodden in the following spring.

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