Berllan Dywyll is blessed with stunningly beautiful, species-rich wild flower meadows which are a riot of colour in the early summer and loud with the buzz of insects. When we arrived we had no idea of the state of the meadows, so to find yellow rattle (an indicator species for old wild flower meadows) was a real thrill. We manage the meadows to enhance the wildflowers, ensuring that the hay is cut after all the flowers have seeded. We avoid chemicals whenever possible, add no fertiliser of any sort, and have laboriously weeded over 11 acres of hay meadows by hand to rid them of ragwort and dock. As members of the Nature Friendly Farming Network we try to encourage the biodiversity of our meadows throughout the farming year.
We have two semi-improved hay meadows, and a rare piece of lowland rhos pasture -wet pasture characterised by sharp-flowered and jointed rush and purple moor grass, with flowers such as devil's bit scabious, marsh bedstraw and meadowsweet. This habitat is wonderfully biodiverse and teems with insects in the summer, but needs to be managed to prevent scrub and brambles taking over and destroying the biodiversity. The land is too wet to mow, and sheep would selectively graze and kill the wildflowers, so we use a herd of Dexter cattle to conserve it. The cattle graze by pulling tufts of grass which leaves the flowers intact whilst clearing scrub, and will produce wonderful beef as a by-product of their conservation grazing.
As well as orchids, yellow rattle, ragged robin, eyebright, self-heal, centaury, fleabane, sneezewort, devils bit scabious, cuckoo flower, knapweed and many other typical Carmarthenshire meadow flowers, we also have the rather rare and beautiful whorled caraway, the county flower of Carmarthenshire.