Managed Wetlands

Managed Wetlands and Herb Rich Meadow

Habitually Waterlogged Areas.
Wetland habitats and the communities they support have been dwindling throughout the British Isles and in Europe due to intensive agriculture use in the last fifty years.
Here in the Park we have designated a series of habitually Managed Wetland sites of Ponds, Dykes, Flushes, Springs and natural Streams to protect and enhance the natural flora and fauna of the area.
Wetland habitats
Managed Wetlands within the Park

Plantlife in the Managed Wetlands.
Flowering species produce spectacular displays at different times of the year - such as Flag Iris, Lady's Mantle, Meadow Sweet, Ragged Robin, Winter Dropworth, Water Forget-me-not, Digitalis and the golden yellow Monkey Flower.
Many of the plant species of Entomological importance require unshaded conditions and for this reason the Managed Wetlands within the Park provide an ideal habitat and food source for a wide variety of insects, moths, and plants including Bilberry (Vacinium myrtillus), Bedstraw (Galium), Sallow (Salix aurita), Ladys Mantle (Alchemilla) and Bramble colonise these areas.


Birds and Insects of the Wetlands.
The Meadow Pipet, Skylark, Dipper, Kestrels,Merlins, Phesant, Mallard, Snipe, Raven and the Sparrow Hawk are all common to the area.
Interesting insects and moths include:- Damselflies and Dragonflies (Odonata). Popular Butterflies and Moths (Lepidoptera) such as the Green-Veined White Butterfly (Irelands most common species), Orange-tip Butterfly, Peacock Butterfly, Buff Arches Moth, Red Carpet Moth, the Northern Eggar and Emperor Moth. Slugs, Caterpillars and Frogs The 'Kerry Slug' is very numerous, particularly on moist evenings. You cannot miss this large black specimen up to 7cm long.
The Emperor Moth Caterpillar (Pavonia - Pavonia) can be seen feeding on the purple heather, The Park has a very large population of Frogs (Ranidae), most notable during the mating season in February and March, when it croaks to warn of intruders approaching.

 

Mushera Managed Wetland Project.
The Managed Wetlands Entitled the “Mushera Managed Wetland Project” we carried out substantial work during 2007 to develop and improve the overall species richness of the Park. To achieve this we have created a series of new ponds, a new managed flush and increased the vegetative cover of this fairly exposed north facing site. The prolific occurrence of springs and the drainage efforts which were carried out here on this site in the 1970s have resulted in a disturbed local topography which has now been successfully exploited to create a very good quality Managed Wetland area which we will continue to manage to improve biodiversity over the coming years as the site matures. In the works we have carried out we focussed particularly on creating a multi-faceted wetland area which would exemplarise two of the key criteria for evaluating the importance of a wetland under the Ramsar Convention i.e. 1. A wetland of special value for maintaining the genetic and ecological diversity of a region and 2. a Wetland which particularly characterises the region in which it is found. We are aware of the additional need to make the Managed Wetland an educational resource and therefore there is a significant need to provide suitable and safe access to the site without consequential damage or reduction in biodiversity. This we believe we have achieved very successfully and have over 20 schools visit the Wetlands since we completed the project in early September. We are grateful to the Heritage Council for funding support towards this important project through their Biodiversity Grant scheme.


Meadow Management
The present Herb Rich Meadow was planted in 1992 with a mixture of 25% wild flowers and 75% grass mixtures. The species included the Cowslip, the Common Daisy, Wild Carrot, Foxglove, Ox-Eye Daisy, Harebell, Wild Pansy, Violets, St.John's Wort, Sheep Sorrel, Storks Bill, Red Clover, White Clover, Chicory, Teasel, Common Vetch, Red Fescue and sixteen others. A mural at the entrance to the Herb Rich Meadow will help you identify some of the individual species.
In order to retain the meadow in its present and diverse state we do not use any fertilisers or herbicides and conduct only one cutting in late summer with a traditional mowing bar. The hay is turned frequently and made into haycocks, this activity further dispersing loose seed for next year. Finally the hay is put to practical use on the deer farm as winter fodder.
Herb Rich Meadow was planted in 1992
The Herb Rich Meadow is a pasture conservation that provides a floristically rich area

Herb Rich Meadow
The Herb Rich Meadow is a pasture conservation that provides a floristically rich area, where the optimum conditions for native flora and fauna now exists. A specially mown grass walk takes you right through this vernacular meadow of beauty and colour recreated to reflect the plant life and grasses that would have been faithful to this area, but for the intervention of mankind. The traditional name of the meadow was "Turin na Blath" - the little hill of the flowers.

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