Welsh grouse moors re­stored

The Field - - NEWS -

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.

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