Drastic measures for Europe’s biggest wetland restoration
Bringing new LIFE to a wetland on Anglesey
Photo Courtesy of ©CCW
Diggers and dumpers have moved on to Cors Erddreiniog National
Nature Reserve on Anglesey. An area the size of nine football
pitches now looks more like a building site than a nature
reserve……but it’s all in a good cause. It’s all part of Europe’s
largest fenland restoration project.
Fens are a special and rare kind of wetland. They depend on
peaty soils and a delicate water balance created by limestone
springs that flow into the peat. In good condition, fens lock in
massive amounts of carbon that would otherwise be released into the
atmosphere contributing to climate change. They help purify our
drinking water and are a haven for rare wildlife.
Over the years, an area of Cors Erddreiniog, known as Cae Gwyn
(white field because of the layers of marl found in the peat), has
been covered with topsoil and the peat has been dried out. Now, the
diggers are clearing this away, to bring the deeper, good quality
peat and marl to the fore once again. It is, of course, unusual to
say the least for a conservation project to be cutting and removing
peat – but it is the only solution in this case.
Thousands of litres of lime rich water from one of the biggest
natural limestone springs in Europe will then, once again,
revitalize the fen, bringing it back into peak condition.
Local contractors have been employed by the project to drive the
diggers and dumpers – so the project is also helping the local
economy as well.
Justin Hanson, LIFE Project Manager for the Countryside Council
for Wales said: “Once the heavy machines have done their work, a
rich diversity of fen plants will return to Cae Gwyn’s marl and
peat habitat, including the internationally rare black bog rush and
the orchids and dragonflies that love these conditions.
Importantly, the spring water that will flow through this new
habitat will end up at Cefni reservoir, in a much purer condition,
at a slower rate, and requiring less treatment. Good news for
In a couple of years, when the fen plants have returned to Cae
Gwyn, local farmers will be able to bring in grazing stock suited
to graze the fen - traditional, native animals like Welsh Blacks,
Herefords or Welsh mountain ponies.
This project is of international significance. By 2013, the end
of the £3.5 million LIFE funded project, the wetlands of Pen Llyn
and Anglesey will be fantastic places for people to visit to enjoy
their special, tranquil atmosphere, surrounded by nature at its
best. And they will also be right back where they belong, in the
centre of the local community and economy.
For more information contact Helen Evans, Senior Press Officer,
on 01248 387377 or 07717225589 or CCW Regional PR Officer Brân
Devey on 02920 77 2403 / 07747767443 or email@example.com.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Filming opportunity – The heavy machines
working on the fen means that the ground wobbles like jelly!
The Countryside Council for Wales is a Welsh Government
Sponsored Body, working for a better Wales where everyone values
and cares for our natural environment. More information about our
work is available on www.ccw.gov.uk
The wetlands restoration project for Anglesey and Llyn reflects
the purpose of the Welsh Government’s Natural Environment
Framework, A Living Wales. For more information and to see how the
programme is progressing and how you can get involved visit