RATHDOWN HERITAGE PARK BIODIVERSITY PLAN - SUMMARY

In June 2018, WCC Heritage Office commissioned a study that proposes ways to manage the Rathdown Heritage Park to benefit wildlife, enhance and maximise the biodiversity potential, whilst respecting the archaeological integrity and community interest of the site. The study, by Oran O’Sullivan, was designed to complement the Rathdown Heritage Park Design Strategy.(Mogensen, December2014).

This is a summary ; the full report can be read below.

The principal aims of this initiative are :

  • To increase, in the Rathdown community, the awareness of the importance of biodiversity.
  • To empower individuals and groups to make positive contributions for the benefit of both wildlife and people.
  • This biodiversity plan was drawn up following a review of the existing biodiversity resources, and a series of workshops in the community which provided training in biodiversity awareness, and allowed collaboration to identify projects to conserve and enhance biodiversity.

An emphasis was placed on incorporating the objectives of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015 – 2020, into the biodiversity projects. This national plan proposes actions that will increase habitat and food sources for a range of pollinating insects, and provides a useful foundation from which other biodiversity-related projects can evolve. The aim of this project is to strive for greater community participation to ensure that as many people as possible are made aware of the value of biodiversity in their localities.

Site recommendations

 

  • Seek a clear commitment by all concerned to review and reverse the practice of introducing garden plants to the area around St. Crispin’s Cell, and the practice of dumping garden compost and plant waste on the margins of the wooded area.
  • Adopt a 3-year meadow regime to grasslands.
  • Encourage local monitoring of wildlife species, including winter bird census.
  • Seek to remove or reduce invasive weeds such as dock and hogweed from grassland using sustainable methods.
  • Introduce native wildflowers to the currently planted / tilled area around St. Crispin’s Cell.
  • Encourage nest / bat box scheme in the wooded area.
  • Review and gauge potential interest and commitment to starting an allotment scheme or community garden in the NW corner of the site. If this is to go ahead, it should be in the form of raised and enclosed beds, and will require careful management.
  • Through the Tidy Towns group, track actions for pollinators and consider entry in to the Local Area Pollinator award of the National Tidy Towns competition.
  • Tidy Towns group to work with Environmental Awareness Office of WCC for best practice on composting.
  • Encourage more widescale use of the area as a venue for local school field trips, for example under the Heritage in Schools Scheme, BT Young Scientists’ Competition, or as a general venue for bat walks, ladybird surveys, butterfly monitoring etc.

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