Restoration and expansion initiatives
Although it can be time-consuming and costly,
the work of restoring and expanding our lowland heathland is
critical to conserve our biodiversity heritage. This vital
challenge will only succeed if the conservation and agricultural
communities continue to work in partnership, so that the wealth of
plants and animals of the lowland and coastal heaths of Wales is
nurtured for the future.
Restoration of neglected lowland heathland requires clearing the
site – involving for example heather burning and cutting, fencing,
scrub removal and bracken clearance – and then re-establishing
Large-scale restoration projects were initiated in the late
1990s under ‘Tomorrow’s Heathland Heritage’ (THH), a UK initiative
part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. THH projects have
provided the funding for capital works and, more importantly
perhaps, have forged links with the farming community. This has
enabled appropriate grazing to be reintroduced onto many sites.
Whilst THH funding for these projects has now finished, further
initiatives are underway to continue the work in the Gower and
Other large-scale heathland management initiatives include the
Cadw’r Lliw Yn Llŷn project on the Llŷn Peninsula and the ‘Heather
and Hillforts Landscape Partnership Scheme’ in the Clwydian Hills.
CCW supports the work of these partnership projects through
funding, advice and staff involvement both on the ground and at a
Restoration alone, of course, is not enough. Small sites are
still difficult to manage and largely uneconomic to farm. Expansion
of small sites and the linking of fragments, therefore, are also
essential for the long-term survival of lowland heath.
Projects to re-establish heathland on agricultural or forestry
land are in progress across Wales. Two examples are: the
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park’s Penlan Project, which is
looking at heathland re-establishment following clearance of
coniferous forestry; and CCW’s Marloes Coast Project, which is
working to create coastal heathland and grassland on agricultural
land on the Marloes Peninsula in Pembrokeshire.