Coal Spoil Connections

Cwm Tips © Liam Olds

Coil Spoil Connections is a Buglife partnership project that aims to better understand the value of coal spoil sites for biodiversity and engage members of the public on the importance of these sites and the benefits that they can bring both people and wildlife. 

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Quick Facts:

  • Name of Project:  Coal Spoil Connections
  • Duration of Project: April 2024 – December 2025
  • Location of Project: Wales – Across the three counties of Rhondda Cynon Taf, Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent
  • Species benefiting from Project: Key species for the Coal Spoil Connections project include the Mardy Monster (Turdulisoma cf helenreadae), Tormentil Mining Bee (Andrena tarsata), Grayling Butterfly (Hipparchia semele), Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages), Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene), the Beddau Beast (Cragogona dalensi).
  • Project funded by: Welsh Government’s Nature Networks Fund, administered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

What will the project do?

Coal Spoil Connections will, as the name suggests, connect communities to their local coal spoil sites. We hope to change the often negative perspectives that people hold of these sites and promote the benefits that coal spoils can offer for both people and wildlife. Community engagement events will encourage people, particularly those who may not already be engaged with nature, to explore coal spoil sites through ecology, geology, local history and art.

We are also keen to better understand the biodiversity value of coal spoil sites and throughout this project, we will work to build on existing habitat and species data of coal spoil sites. With this information, we can improve habitat conditions by evidencing the need for legal protection and ensuring that they are appropriately managed. This in turn will support nature recovery and resilience across Wales’ wider protected site network.

The Mardy Monster (Turdulisoma cf helenreadae) © Liam Olds

In recent years, at least 15 new species (most of which are invertebrates, but also include some fungi) have been discovered on coal spoil sites in South Wales that are completely new to Wales. Additionally, three of these species are new to the UK and two are completely new to science, which makes protecting and understanding these sites even more vital.

Key species for the Coal Spoil Connections project include the Mardy Monster (Turdulisoma cf helenreadae), Tormentil Mining Bee (Andrena tarsata), Grayling Butterfly (Hipparchia semele), Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages), Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene), the Beddau Beast (Cragogona dalensi).

 

Grayling Butterfly (Hipparchia semele) © Iain H Leach

How can you get involved?

Communities can get involved in Buglife Cymru’s Coal Spoil Connections project through a series of opportunities, including events, habitat management volunteering, species recording, and other citizen science focussed sessions.

To find out more about getting involved in our Coal Spoil Connections project, please check our events page or contact Carys Romney (Conservation Officer) at [email protected].

The Beddau Beast (Cranogona dalensi) © Liam Olds

The Coal Spoil Connections Project is funded by the Welsh Government’s Nature Networks Fund and is administered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.