The mosaic of different farmland habitats is now home to many different birds, invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians and mammals.
The pink meadowcap is a beautiful, bright mushroom, growing on short grasslands. All fungi live as tiny filiments in the soil and the mushroom you see is simply a means for the fungi to distribute its spores and start the next generation. Fungi like the pink meadowcap are easily killed off by any distrubance such as ploughing or changes to the soil chemistry such as the application of fertilisers. Pink meadowcaps can now only be found where the land has not been intensively farmed.
The olive earthtongue is a small fungus that pushes finger-like shoots above the surface of short cropped grasslands in autumn. Like the pink meadowcap, it too is easily lost in fields that have been disuturbed and so is now rare across the National Park.
The brown hairstreak is a butterfly that was once common across the UK but is now scarce and there are few sites for them within the National Park. The caterpillars feed on blackthorn which is a common shrub of hedgerows. The availablity of the caterpillar food plant often determines how numerous or widespread a butterfly species is. While blackthorn is very common, these butterflies have declined because of the way the hedges are managed. The adult lays its eggs on the soft new shoots of blackthorn where they persist over winter and hatch in the spring. Unfortunately, the blackthorn in hedges is often cut every year and the eggs are destroyed by the hedge cutters. This is what has caused the massive decline arcoss the UK.
See more information from Butterfly Conservation on the Brown Hairstreak.
The brown hare was once previously widespread on the open habitats of Wales. They favour open grasslands and arable fields, which give them an unobstructed view of the surrounding area so they can watch for potential predators. Hare numbers have been greatly affected by changes in agriculture leading to a loss of suitable or undisturbed habitat. Only the water vole has suffered a greater rate of decline over the last few decades.
Read more about the Conservation of the Brown Hare from the Game Conservancy Trust.