Peter Taylor reflecting on the messages of the day
A field trip the next day to Cors Fochno
Wildland in Wales
PRESENTATION FEEDBACK AND WORKSHOP REPORTS
Welcome, introduction and scene setting: emerging ideas and opportunities for wildland in Wales (Stanley Owen)
Read Stanley's scene setting introduction here.
Mapping wildland (Dr Steve Carver, Leeds University)
Download the PowerPoint Show here (PPS 2,679kb)
How do you get discussion on the values and weightings relating to wild land?
There is a challenge to capture coastal wildness and seascape in wildland maps.
Need to distinguish wild land from solitude.
Note the correlation between wildland maps and the absence of light pollution.
Do ‘wild’ and ‘natural’ criteria need to be distinguished more?
Do we know about people’s changing perceptions of the notion of ‘wild’ through time, other than as expressed in art and literature?
Scale and context must allow for local perceptions of what is wild.
To what degree do people notice different types of intrusions in wild land?
Potential for species reintroductions in Wales and the role of wild mammals in natural processes (Derek Gow)
Do we need more riverine environments before reintroducing beavers?
Recent cases of beaver reintroduction in Southern England:
Discussion on benefits of red kite in Wales (Rick Minter)
Some of the benefits of red kite…
Has the total direct and indirect income and worth of red kite to mid Wales been calculated?
Are there any disbenefits from red kite? None suggested.
Economic regeneration and wildland - Cambrian Mountains (Jeremy Wright, Powys County Council)
Jeremy Wright described current Powys County Council thinking in relation to certain wild land issues: Farm subsidies are on the way out, so farm incomes and therefore part of the local economy are under threat, particularly in upland areas. The local authorities in the Cambrian Mountains are looking for new ideas for economic regeneration in the area, which might involve changes in land use. Initiatives that capitalise on the wild character of the Cambrians and enhance their wildland qualities might prove valuable as economic drivers, through tourism and other sources of income, as well as providing other far-ranging benefits.
But, Many farms are similar in demographic make up and are based on families long-rooted in the area. It may be helpful to understand the degree of indebtedness of these farms.
The Cambrian Mountains landscape can be enlivened and made more vibrant through wild land projects. This may or may not help the Welsh language.
The environment of the Cambrian mountains is recognised as an important economic driver.
How can pressures for centralisation of services and policy making be overcome?
Schools can be helped to celebrate and promote the wild and undeveloped cultural value of the Cambrian Mountains.
Examples of current wildland projects and activities in Wales:
Vyrnwy Estate (Richard Farmer, RSPB)
Download the PowerPoint Show here (PPS 1,732kb)
Richard Farmer described their upland reserve on the Vyrnwy Estate in the Berwyn Mountains. Covered by many designations – SAC, SPA, SSSI - the estate was originally managed for shooting, with periodic burning to refresh the heather. It is now being managed for the return of wading birds, cutting the heather rather than burning, reducing sheep numbers and introducing Welsh ponies. The biggest change to the landscape has come from blocking the drainage grips with rolled bundles of mown heather, rewetting the very dry blanket bog.
Nantgwynant, Snowdon (Keith Jones, National Trust)
Download the PowerPoint Show here (PPS 2,174kb)
Keith talked about two National Trust farms at Nantgwynant, Snowdon that he described as being in good condition compared to the surrounding area - the natural gems amongst their holdings, and offering the contrast of a changing lowland mosaic with the larger upland farm. The farms are managed “in hand” (not tenanted) and have recently acquired organic certification, although Keith bemoaned a lack of integration between food production standards and the land management needs of clearing invasive species such as rhododendron. Keith talked of the possibility of re-embracing transhumance i.e. the transfer of livestock between uplands and lowlands.
Workshops on benefits of wildland (facilitated by Rick Minter)
Discussion following report back from small groups’ conclusions on wildlife, recreation and economy benefits of wild land (see link above left to the separate tables for these reports)…