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 has been 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 Upper Tawe Valley Living Landscape project aims to restore, recreate and re-connect priority BAP habitat to benefit wildlife. It will bring areas of rhos pasture into appropriate mangement for the marsh fritillary butterfly, which currently inhabits Ystradfawr nature reserve. Amphibian and reptile species will also benefit from the digging of four new ponds. Wildflowers will benefit with the management of limestone grassland. People will also benefit as access will be improved allowing more opportunities for engaging with local wildlife.

The project will bring together the management of several key sites, including four BWT nature reserves, Allt Rhongyr and Craig y Rhiwarth un the uplands and Wern Plemys and Ystradfawr in Ystradgynlais. These will form 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.

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 will be happening on these reserves, helping to transform them and bring them into appropriate management. We rely on volunteers to help with this and greatly value and appreciate their input. It's a fantastic and fun way for individuals and groups to get involved in the project. 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 is working to further develop the Living Landscape project in the area and is currently seeking funding to enable this to happen.

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 Officer, Ben Mullen, by email or tel: 01874 625708.