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A new network of circular walks has opened up part of a Gower beauty spot for the first time; The footpaths are part of the National Trust's five-year project to develop a space for nature on the Vile at Rhossili.

Byline: Oliver Roderick

A new footpath network opened by the National Trust this week will allow walkers to access the Vile atRhossilifor the first time.

The paths will offer a circular walking route through the Vile and will be launched at an open day on Thursday (March 22), when visitors will be able to take part in guided walks and meet the ranger team and archaeologist behind the project, while getting involved in conservation work.

The footpaths are part of the National Trust's five-year project to develop a space for nature on the Vile, from making use of nature-friendly farming techniques.

A total of 7.5 hectares of hay meadows have already been restored, with 24 hectares of wildlife-friendly arable crops to be planted this year.

Mark Hipkin,Gowerarea ranger at the National Trust, said: "These footpaths will allow people access to the Vile for the first time, it's an exciting time to visit and watch the seasonal changes as we're transforming this landscape and farming in a nature friendly way."

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One of the last medieval strip field farming systems in the UK, the Vile is described by the National Trust as an important cultural landscape.

Around 5,500 metres of boundaries on the land are estimated to have been lost since 1948, and the National Trust hope that over 4500 meters of new banks on the lines of the historic boundaries will develop its wildlife value over the next five years.

The boundaries and hedgerows will allow birds and insects to nest and small mammals to travel undetected by birds of prey. They also offer shelter for butterflies and bees.

Soil surveys have been conducted and will be repeated to form data that will influence land management decisions.

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A combine harvester from the 1970s has been acquired to farm narrow strips and allow workers to harvest different crops at different times.

Footpath activities on the Vile's open day start at 11am on Thursday.

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Credit: [c]National Trust Images/John Millar

The Vile at Rhossili, where new walks have been developed

Credit: [c]National Trust Images/John Millar

People on the road above Rhossili Bay

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Title Annotation:What's On
Publication:Wales Online (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 21, 2018
Words:379
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