Lowland semi-natural grassland has suffered dramatic losses estimated at 97% in the UK since 1930 and only fragments of lowland meadows, heathland and bogs remain.
This project will undertake work to reverse the decline locally and so improve and restore flowering habitat that local people and visitors can enjoy while also benefiting pollinators, farmland birds and other species creating new opportunities to engage with nature.
Practical conservation management on grasslands, peatland, and ffridd has already been agreed and costed into the project with over 30 local land owners.
The work the project will invest in includes managing scrub, bracken and gorse, fencing and other infrastructure for grazing as well as practical help to monitor the impact of the work undertaken.
A Dolau Dyfi Meadows Group will be established to support land owners to manage their flowering habitats in the long term.
The project will also invest in activity that helps local people and visitors to enjoy the benefits provided by nature and engage with, and learn about their natural environment.
Using the Ivy-leaved Bell Flower as a poignant symbol of wildflowers that are special in the area, the Dolau Dyfi will undertake work with local groups, organisations and individuals to develop ideas for improved access and arts activities.
The project will also invest in a programme of led walks and volunteer activities, to benefit health and wellbeing.
Who is involved with the project?
The project is being led by Pori Natur a Threftadaeth (PONT). PONT is a small not for profit company Ltd by guarantee that works to deliver conservation grazing in Wales.
PONT will recruit a Project Officer and a Student Placement who will be based at Y Plas in Machynlleth.
The Delivery of the Project will be supported by the Dolau Dyfi Steering Group. The group is Chaired by Ecodyfi and members represent the different aspects of the project and will help us to engage with different sectors, communities and individuals.
We aim to involve as many people as possible in developing ideas for the project and joining in with our activities. If anyone has any ideas on how we might do this then please get in touch (see contact details at the bottom of the page).
How is the project funded?
This project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 – Sustainable Management Scheme, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government .
The RSPB is also contributing.
What will the project do?
Land Management and Nature Conservation
The project will undertake the activity agreed at the application stage including fencing, new gates, scrub and bracken clearance and helping to establish nature friendly grazing. Some work may vary from the original application as things will have changed over the last 2 years.
All land management activity aims to improve or restore flowering habitat.
During the project the Project Officer will help establish a meadows group to ensure land owners are able to share experience and support each other in the long term.
The project will agree a programme of work to improve access routes and opportunities in the project area.
A list of proposals included in the application was based on an initial consultation undertaken by PONT and the Ceredigion Bridleway Group. This list will be used to stimulate wider discussion with interested parties where there will be an opportunity to add other ideas. The list will be prioritised and works undertaken between January 2020 and May 2022.
It is likely that the work will be phased with a second opportunity to inform exactly where improvements take place later in 2020.
Health and Well-being
There are 3 elements to the health and well-being work and it links closely to the access theme above:
- The project will work with the Dyfi Biosphere Outdoor Health project being delivered by Ecodyfi, Coed Lleol and others to provide opportunities for people to join led walks and other activities to improve health. This will be linked to the new social prescribing scheme being developed in the area and a number of those involved will be supported to take part through referral from their GP or other health provider.
- The project will produce bilingual materials to help people go for walks themselves either through discreet branding of routes or through on-line or paper guides depending on what local users find most useful. These routes will be designed with different abilities in mind and will clearly state distance and challenge level.
- Finally, the project will offer supervised volunteering opportunities in practical conservation work, footpath management or other activity depending on demand.
The project has a small budget to undertake arts activities. The idea is to run workshops and events centred around creating material that is relevant to the farming, nature, wild flower theme of the project.
This activity will provide various opportunities for people to get involved. We will also work towards creating a main piece or pieces for the project which will be the focus of a number of events.
Ideas discussed include a display for a Lantern Parade or attending many of the local agricultural shows culminating in one of the larger shows e.g. at Aberystwyth.
The project will also create a film to show case how special the area is which can be used by local people in schools, community events etc.
Where will the project work?
The Dolau Dyfi Projects stretches across the Dyfi Biosphere area from the sea at Aberdyfi to the foothills of the Cambrian Mountains and includes parts of Ceredigion, Powys, Gwynedd and Snowdonia National Park. Much of the nature conservation activity has been agreed at the application stage and the land owners are already signed up. Other work such as access improvements, led walk, arts activity and the volunteer opportunities still need to be agreed. The project will include Aberystwyth and Machynlleth and also the smaller towns and villages within the project area.
How long is the project running for?
The end date for the project is the 30th June 2022. The idea is that some benefits will continue beyond the end date.
This might happen through a social prescribing scheme, adopt a path schemes, a Dolau Dyfi Meadows Group and also due to the improvements in infrastructure allowing nature friendly grazing to continue on new wildflower meadows.
How does this project relate to other projects in the area?
PONT is working with members of the steering group to find out as much as possible about existing activity. The aim will be to work with other projects, schemes and initiatives and not to duplicate services or activities.
An example is that we will develop a programme of led walks, however we will do this in liaison with the Dyfi Biosphere Outdoor Health project.
Our staff will be based in the Ecodyfi offices at Y Plas and this will facilitate collaboration with others. If you have ideas please get in touch.