Nature Recovery in the Bannau Brycheiniog boosted by funding

Biodiversity across the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park has been given a boost thanks to funding from the Welsh Government. In total £70,000 received from the Local Places for Nature 2020/21 Capital Grant Fund, administered by Wales Council for Voluntary Action, was spent on eleven environmental growth projects across the ParkThe projects have enhanced and improved many of the National Park’s green spaces, benefitting nature and its recovery.  

Using the Greening the Public Estate element of the funding National Park staff carried out works at sites including the National Park Visitor Centre where hedgerows were widened, and pollinator friendly native flowers planted. Likewise, Craig-y-nos Country Park benefitted from hedgerow improvements, alongside the planting of 9,500 locally sourced plug plants in woodland areas. Funding also allowed for the replacement of a boardwalk which will enable safe access and enjoyment of the wetland area by the far lake.

A total of 102 bat and bird boxes were purchased and distributed to sites including Hay-on-Wye Scout Hut and Carreg Cennen Castle woodlands, giving breeding wildlife a safe place to rear young each year. The use of funds to purchase a seed harvester and trailer means native wildflower seeds can be collected from Authority owned land and planted elsewhere around the Park. Warden & Volunteer Teams received new helmets for safe machinery operation and two rechargeable, electric brush-cutters; lighter than standard brush-cutters and another important step towards the Authority becoming carbon neutral. Funding also supported two community-based projects: a wildflower meadow at Cwmbeth Close, Crickhowell and the planting of local variety fruit trees along the Govilon Line.

Japanese knotweed control along the River Usk

Japanese knotweed control along the River Usk

Further to this the Environmental Growth strand of funding enabled Bannau Brycheiniog Local Nature Partners to focus on bigger projects at two separate Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Japanese knotweed control along the River Usk supporting the restoration of native habitats was overseen by the National Park Invasive Non-native Plants Team and involved the successful engagement of all 25 landowners who granted access to their land. At Pwll y Wrach Nature Reserve near Talgarth, work focused on path improvements, removal/make safe of ash dieback affected trees and the purchase of bat monitoring equipment, all overseen by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales who manage the site.

Mr James Marsden, Authority Landscape and Biodiversity Member Champion said,
“In Wales, and globally, biodiversity continues to undergo dramatic declines. Here in the Bannau Brycheiniog we are addressing this through the delivery of the Nature Recovery Action Plan which we launched in July 2019 to guide the work of our Local Nature Partnership and restore the Park’s natural environment. As demonstrated through the eleven nature-based projects, by working together with partner organisations, communities and landowners we can achieve a more resilient nature rich National Park that benefits us all.”

Local Nature Partnerships (LNP) Cymru Manager at WCVA, Chris Lazo added, “We’re delighted to be able to fund this diverse range of projects by Bannau Brycheiniog National Park through the Local Places for Nature Fund. The Fund is a capital grants scheme that enables communities to reverse environmental decline, by enhancing the nature that’s accessible on their doorstep. Local Nature Partnerships across Wales have been using the funding innovatively and efficiently – and it’s great to see the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park putting the funding to use on such a wide variety of different initiatives.”