The Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales is providing £1 million to habitat schemes, in the hopes of revitalising a Welsh nature reserve. The projects aim to plant 100,000 trees, and restore 120,000 metres of hedgerows.
One element of the two-part scheme will see 100,000 trees planted and around 120,000 metres of hedges restored to improve habitat connectivity for Welsh wildlife. The other will focus on improving facilities at the Gilfach nature reserve, near Rhayader, Powys .
Landscape guardians are aiming to recruit 3,000 volunteers across Wales as part of a £1m project to safeguard woodlands, hedgerows and habitats. Young people will also be encouraged to take an interest in nature and learn to appreciate the country’s natural heritage.
Richard Bellamy, head of HLF Wales, said: “When people think of what ‘heritage’ means, they often think of grand old buildings like castles and rolling estates.
“But Wales is lucky enough to also encompass some beautiful landscapes and natural environments that are home to rare and precious species.
“By funding natural heritage projects, we hope more people will realise that looking after our landscape – perhaps starting in our very own back gardens – is just as important.”
A major part of the funding will go towards the Long Forest project and its ambitious programme of tree planting and hedge restoration. The project will be managed by Keep Wales Tidy and The Woodland Trust, and will focus on four areas across Wales – Pembrokeshire, Monmouth, Anglesey and North East Wales. In Anglesey the work will centre on the creation and restoration of Cloddiau , where the hedge-topped stone and soil banks are part of landscapes which can date back to medieval times.
The second tranche of funding will go to the “Exploring Gilfach” project run by the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust. The initiative will improve walking trails and facilities at the 410-acre Powys reserve, whilst also teaching project volunteers and young naturalists how to identify the site’s 1,300 species.
Darylle Hardy, of Radnorshire Wildlife Trust, said the humble lichen will find itself in the project’s spotlight.
“Visitors don’t always notice them, but studies have shown some lichen species contain compounds with the potential to cure harmful diseases that affect humans,” she said.
“So understanding, protecting and enhancing our local biodiversity could have huge implications for current and future human health.”