The Welsh Government-sponsored body, Swansea Council, and Buglife Cymru discovered rare mosses, lichens, and sandwort when they undertook the restoration of the contaminated Copperopolis site.
Thirteen species of lichen have been recorded (a third of Britain’s metal-loving lichen species) on the Swansea plot, which was declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 2017; and the aforementioned sandwort is only found on two sites in South Wales.
The restoration works have involved opening up parts of the land, removing scrub by the railway line to provide a connectivity corridor for pollinators, reintroducing rare plants to the area, clearing waste material, and improving access to the cycle path.
"The work to preserve the area is a great example of partners coming together to protect and enhance an important site for Wales’ natural heritage," says Kerry Rogers, senior conservation officer at NRW. "It shows how natural diversity can come in many forms.
"Removing the scrub and opening up the area helped us to promote a good habitat for bees and insects as well as the rare metal-loving plants and improved access for people by opening up the cycling path."
Clare Dinham, wales manager for Buglife Cymru, adds: "This area is a haven for wildlife located within an urban setting and demonstrates the important role that brownfield sites can play in nature conservation. The site also lies within a B-Line corridor – a Wales-wide landscape scale habitat connectivity corridor for pollinators and other wildlife."