Artist Rebecca Chesney has researched the industrial history of the area and the land around the Mon & Brec towpath at Pontymoile and after documenting the flora and fauna of the site, she has proposed a new planting commission. Internationally renowned landscape designer Sarah Price has contributed as an advisor to the project called Pont-y-Ddôl – ‘Bridge over the Meadow’.
Rebecca Chesney made a biodiversity site visit to Pontymoile Basin in June with Sarah Price & Maryam Daoudi. They identified more than 30 different species in grasses along the towpath, and discussed how best to propose management of the meadow that has started to establish itself at the basin. Rebecca is working closely with C&RT Environment Manager, Oda Dijksterhuis and C&RT Community Roots Officer, Paul Gibson to develop a planting plan for the proposed sites.
In November, Rebecca returned to the site with artist Ella Gibbs and local volunteers to sow Yellow Rattle seeds along the towpath and on isolated pockets of land, such as the triangular patch at the bridge. Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor) is known as the ‘meadow maker’ as it attaches to grass roots and suppresses their growth enabling wildflowers to flourish. By early next spring these proposed meadow areas should be ready for planting with the help of local volunteers.
“There is a small patch of ground at the canal basin at Pontymoile which was left to grow wild this year. In one summer we counted over 40 species of plants coming up, plus many butterflies, bumblebees, damselflies and other insects. In autumn this year we seeded the plot with Yellow Rattle, a parasitic plant used to keep the vigorous grasses in check. This gives the other flowering plants a better chance in the meadow next summer. Further to encouraging the flowers at Pontymoile basin, I will plant different species of flowers in long strips along the canal water’s edge in spring next year. Purple Loosestrife, Yellow Flag Iris and Meadow Sweet, all found locally, will not only provide valuable forage for insects, but will create a colourful display along the canal for everyone to enjoy.”
We will be posting details of further volunteering opportunities for those keen to lend a hand with our spring planting so watch this space!
Rebecca Chesney‘s practice examines our complex relationship with the natural world, by engaging with issues of culture, politics and power. Her artworks, which take the form of installations, films, interventions, drawings, maps and walks, are often created in response to specific places, and are underpinned by environmental research. Recent projects include Distance (2018) at Springhornhof in Germany, Alla Breve (2018) at Museo Casa Rurale di Carcente in Italy, a Lucas Artist Fellowship (2016/ 17/ 18) at Montalvo in California USA, Snapshot (2016) residency and commission by Peak with Brecon Beacons National Park Authority and Death by Denim (2015) Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library.