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From muddy pitch to flower meadow.

HARD to believe it, but the field on the left was a muddy rugby pitch not so long ago.

Now it is a traditional hay meadow, populated by orchids and meadow grasses alongside the Menai Strait.

In the last five years the National Trust has restored the field next to its Plas Newydd estate on Anglesey.

"We asked our tenant to cut after August 13 every year, graze with sheep until early winter and not to use fertiliser, herbicides or pesticides," said Helen Buckingham, the Trust's nature conservation officer.

"There were no northern marsh orchids, now there are large numbers, while five greater butterfly orchids have grown to 100."

The National Trust now cares for 32 meadows across Wales, including Berthlwyd on the Ysbyty Estate, Penrhyn Mawr on the Llyn and Felin Gafnan on Anglesey.

More are currently being restored, such as at Egryn, near Barmouth.

Together they cover 190ha of land - more than a tenth of the 1,700ha of flower-rich meadow left in Wales.

The Plas Newydd meadow, originally the rugby field for the HMS Conway merchant navy training school, is open to the public from Saturday, June 25, until Wednesday.

Free daily guided tours start from Plas Newydd at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3pm.

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A hybrid orchid amidst a sea of wildflowers
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 23, 2011
Words:218
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