The Upper Tawe Valley - a Living Landscape

Upper Tawe Valley Living Landscape Project

Brecknock Wildlife Trust is developing a Living Landscape project in the Upper Tawe Valley.

The first stage of the project was a success and ran from December 2010 to October 2013 funded by WREN's Biodiversity Action Fund, with additional funding from the Countryside Council for Wales (now Natural Resources Wales) and the Peoples Postcode Lottery.

Lying on the southern edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, the Upper Tawe Valley has been identified as an area of great potential for wildlife with many priority habitats and species present. One such species is the marsh fritillary butterfly that breeds here in Rhos pasture containing both its food plant, devil's bit scabious and thick grass tussocks that shelter the caterpillars over winter. This area holds a key population of the butterfly and is one of the best sites in Wales. However, marsh fritillaries require extensive habitat networks for their long term survival and with continual fragmentation of habitat it has become a scarce butterfly that has suffered a severe decline in its distribution over the last century.

The first stage of the Upper Tawe Valley Living Landscape project aimed to restore, recreate and re-connect priority BAP habitat to benefit wildlife. It brought areas of rhos pasture into appropriate mangement for the marsh fritillary butterfly, which currently inhabits Ystradfawr nature reserve. Amphibian and reptile species benefitted from the digging of new ponds. Wildflowers benefitted with the management of limestone grassland. People benefitted from improved access to the nature reserves allowing more opportunities for engaging with local wildlife.

The project brought together the management of several key sites, including four BWT nature reserves, Allt Rhongyr and Craig y Rhiwarth on the uplands and Wern Plemys and Ystradfawr in Ystradgynlais. These formed the back bone of a series of sites along the Upper Tawe Valley, creating a Living Landscape in which wildlife populations will be safeguarded and can adapt to climate change. Additionally towards the end of the project another site was acquired near Ystradgynlais that also had a breeding population of the marsh fritillary butterfly, Cae Lynden nature reserve.

Allt Rhongyr and Ystradfawr are new nature reserves that the trust now manages as part of the Upper Tawe Valley Living Landscape Project. A lot of practical conservation work took place on these reserves, helping to transform them and bring them into appropriate management. We relied heavily on volunteers to help with this and greatly valued and appreciated their input. It's a fantastic and fun way for individuals and groups to get involved in helping their local environment. See our Volunteering with us page for more information.

Click here to download a printable copy of the Upper Tawe Valley Living Landscape leaflet (pdf opens in new window).

The Project area....

Click here to view the Upper Tawe Valley Living Landscape project area in a larger map in Google maps.

What next?

The Brecknock Wildlife Trust continues to develop the Upper Tawe Valley Living Landscape project and has secured funding from the Big Lottery Fund to run its Wild Communities project in the area.

Project sites....
Craig y Rhiwarth is adjacent to Allt Rhongyr nature reserve
Craig y Rhiwarth

Wern Plemys nature reserve being grazed by ponies
Wern Plemys

Marsh fritillary breed at Ystradfawr

This project was funded by:

The WREN Biodiversity Action Fund

The Countryside Council for Wales provided a grant towards the purchase of Allt Rhongyr

The Peoples Postcode Lottery provided a grant towards the purchase of Allt Rhongyr

Further information

Contact the Trust by email or tel: 01874 625708.