Walk with Mary Gillham July 2016: Howardian Local Nature Reserve


As part of the Heritage Lottery Funded project A Dedicated Naturalist: the Dr Mary Gillham Archive Project, we will be highlighting some of the sites in south east Wales visited and surveyed by esteemed local ecologist, Dr Mary Gillham MBE.

Dr Gillham spent a huge amount of time exploring South Wales and recording all of the species she found in different locations, sometimes for personal interest, sometimes whilst educating a group of extra mural students and sometimes to record what species and habitats were present in order to provide evidence for protecting an area. In this series of 'Walks with Mary Gillham' we will provide you with details of the surveys she undertook and the species she recorded. We would love to get an up-to-date species list so we can compare the two - will you find as much as Mary? Has the species composition changed drastically? Can you add new species to the list?


Walk two: Howardian Local Nature Reserve


Click map to enlarge

Site centre: ST206790
Site entrances: ST20647865, ST20607866 and ST20407857 each with adjacent on-street parking.

In 1973 Cardiff City Council asked the Natural History Society of Howardian High School if it would like to manage 6 acres of scrub/grass/woodland, adjacent to the school, as a nature reserve. Thus began 17 years of involvement by the pupils with the Reserve until the School's closure in 1990. During this time the Reserve was gradually extended to 30 acres. Much of the Howardian Local Nature Reserve site was a disused domestic rubbish tip.

The Friends' Group was formed in 1989, by an enthusiastic group of local residents, who work with Cardiff County Council to further improve the reserve. A good network of paths now weave between the great variety of habitats that are packed with interesting flora and fauna and, in recognition of the site's value for wildlife, it was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 1991.

Find out more about the reserve, the species found there and the tireless work of the Friends' group at www.howardianlnr.org.uk. You can also download a guide to the reserve here: www.howardianlnr.org.uk/1996bkltenglish.html.

Mary went to the Howardian on many occasions throughout her life and within her files she generated a list of around 370 species (not all recorded by her)! We'd like to encourage you to visit the Howardian to see what you can find.

This pdf has maps of the site, and also contains Dr Gillham's combined species list; we have also highlighted some 'target species' which are under-recorded in SEWBReC's database and which you might be able to spot and record too.

This pdf includes scans of Dr Gillham's original survey notes so you too can experience surveying with Mary Gillham.

Please submit your records online here: http://www.sewbrecord.org.uk/Mary_Gillham (please note, you will need to be logged into SEWBReCORD to use this link). Alternatively, please download this Excel recording form and return your records by email to dedicated.naturalist@sewbrec.org.uk.


Notes about Walks with Mary Gillham:

  • Please take a common sense approach to recording at these sites. We do not advocate any form of trespassing, and please do not take any risks with regards your own health and safety.
  • All records are welcome, even the most common of species!
  • For a record to be useful, we will need the following information: recorder's name; date recorded; location name; grid reference (ideally 6 figures or more); species name. Please feel free to include extra information or photos.