Welsh grouse moors restored
A project to restore three grouse moors in Wales aims to become a showcase for sustainable grouse-moor management. The three-year project, which started this spring, covers 20,000 acres of moorland in Powys. The Powys Upland Partnership (PUP) is a joint initiative between landowners, farmers and the local community. “The main ambition is to restore heather habitat and to increase the biodiversity of wildlife in these areas,” said the GWCT’S Catherine Hughes.
The GWCT joined forces with the CLA and FWAG (Farming & Wildlife Advisory Groups) to secure the initial £250,000 funding from the Welsh government’s nature fund initiative. A further £600,000 has now been awarded from the Sustainable Management Scheme, which is being match-funded by another £300,000 from local landowners.
This spring, the first heather was cut and burnt by the four keepers and an apprentice, who have been employed to restore the heather habitat on the moors.
Jobs will be created for local wildlife wardens and open days organised so visitors can watch the black grouse lek. There’ll be events and talks for local school children, a website created and nature walks planned. Working with other organisations, the project hopes to revive lost vocational skills.
“This is not just about managing a bit of heather, it’s about sharing ideas, making sure there are multiple effects that trickle down to benefit the person on the street,” said Hughes. “The idea is to put the moors back into active land management and increase biodiversity.”
All the moors are on common ground open to public access. Working with local communities and graziers the aim is to create the right habitat for birds, many of which are on the Red List.