BSG Ecology produced a site-wide Habitat Enhancement and Management Plan for Caerphilly Castle. This has enabled Cadw to adopt an approach to development and estate management that will help deliver their obligations under the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act (2015) and the Environment (Wales) Act (2016).
BSG Ecology was commissioned to carry out an assessment of the ecological risks and opportunities associated with the implementation of a five-year masterplan that aims to increase the castle’s appeal to visitors alongside delivering essential maintenance and conservation works.
The main challenge was to identify biodiversity enhancement measures which were both flexible and appropriate to the site, respecting the archaeology and striking a balance between the different uses of the castle (for example for summer events, fishing and historical interpretation).
A desk study and an Extended Phase 1 habitat survey was carried out, alongside an assessment of the castle’s potential to support roosting bats. This provided a baseline to inform further survey requirements for specific projects and, more broadly, areas of the site with specific ecological constraints. Cadw are now able to consider ecology from the outset when designing different elements of the masterplan to improve the visitor experience or when additional maintenance work becomes necessary.
The work also identified opportunities for biodiversity enhancement around the castle and grounds including the creation of extensive new species-rich grassland and native marginal (moat-side) vegetation, enhancement of existing habitats through appropriate management and provision of bat and bird boxes. We worked closely with Cadw’s Monument Development Team to ensure all biodiversity enhancements both respected the important archaeology and were tailored to deliver multiple benefits including visual and amenity value.
The results were incorporated into a site-wide Habitat Enhancement and Management Plan which will deliver extensive habitat creation and improvements across the castle grounds. This will maximise biodiversity and the visitor experience, creating an attractive, diverse, and ecologically resilient space for education and amenity where visitors can enjoy and interact with nature whist exploring the castle.