Biodiversity projects in the Brecon Beacons

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An innovative project led by a local artist, Pip Woolf, has begun to help restore a 300-metre long area of eroded upland peat at Pen Trumau in the Black Mountains.

With the support of the Black Mountains Graziers, Pip and more than 500 volunteers made felt mats from Welsh wool and carried them up to 600 metres above sea level where they were pinned in place using handmade pegs to form a 300-metre-long 'woollen line'.

Heather seed was encapsulated inside the felt 'pockets' that act like a bandage to help protect the land and while heather vegetation is re-established in the formerly bare, eroded area.

Since the 300-metre-long line was put in place in 2010, the artist has won funding for more work, with two more lines of felt put in place with the help of volunteers, covering an area 600 metres long on Pen Trumau.

Peat bog restoration work is mapped out

A 20-hectare area of the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority where long-term peat bog restoration work began in 2005 has been mapped to discover the extent of re-vegetation of the land.

The work was carried out at Waun Fignen Felen by a student who used GIS and remote sensing analysis to show the areas where biodiversity has been restored as a result of re-vegetation of the landscape.

It shows that the trend towards land turning into bare peat has stopped and even been reversed resulting in an annual increase of vegetation cover including:

  • Cotton grass
  • Purple moor-grass
  • Heather seedlings
  • Sphagnum moss

Water voles re-introduced at Llangorse Lake

More than 200 water voles have been re-introduced to Llangorse lake in the Brecon Beacons National Park, one of the most biodiversity-rich areas of the Park.

Prior to this there were no sightings of water vole in the area since the early 1990s.

A project led by the Environment Agency Wales and supported by Brecknock Wildlife Trust and the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority saw a number of captivity-bred water voles released into suitable habitats and areas of purposely-improved habitat around the lake.

A survey of the area found field signs of the voles across almost everywhere there was a suitable habitat for them.

Community woodlands encourage biodiversity

Five new community woodlands covering 20 hectares of unmanaged woodland have been established as a result of a partnership between the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority and The Green Valleys Community Interest Company.

These groups receive training and support to enable them to undertake habitat improvements. The aim is to connect communities with the landscape by bringing them together in shared activities to improve biodiversity, share traditional skills and increase the supply of locally-produced wood for fuel.

Biodiversity surveys are planned for this year - expected findings include increased numbers of:

  • Songbirds
  • Butterflies
  • Woodland plants such as bluebells, snowdrops and celandines

Woodland improvements in Tarell Valley

The National Trust helped deliver improvements to woodlands in the Tarell valley under the Welsh Assembly’s Better Woodland For Wales grant scheme.

The team removed nearly 3 hectares of non-native conifers, planted almost 5,000 new trees, completed approximately 5 km of fencing and surveyed nearly 100 veteran trees.