Nature Fund Action Zone Focus

Conservation and regeneration are often linked and the Nature Action Zone is no exception. Its final focus is on the South Wales Values.

2nd July 2015

The final Nature Action Zone has three projects sited in the South Wales valleys with stakeholders collaborating to build resilient ecosystems and provide a range of multiple benefits for communities. 

In the eastern valley uplands, the Forgotten Landscapes project brings together three local authorities (Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly) to work with farmers, Gwent Wildlife Trust and the emergency services to sustainably manage the uplands. The uplands are dominated by urban commons which are typically used for hill farming and recreation such as walking, horse riding and mountain biking. The uplands are also at risk from environmental crime such as arson, fly tipping and off-roading. 

The project is dealing with these issues by restoring the upland to ecological health and diversity for example through sustainable grazing and bracken control whilst also protecting the area from environmental crime through community outreach and the development of best practice guidance . These actions will help provide multiple benefits for communities such as providing more productive farmland, better and safer access for communities, more resilient habitat for wildlife to thrive as well as stimulating carbon capture and water storage in the uplands. 

The project is also developing a natural resource management plan to set out the evidence and the decisions making process for the sustainable management of resources of the area. The project covers the uplands of northern Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen covering 200 km². 

Meanwhile, the Pollinators for Life project is engaging with communities across Torfaen, Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly council areas to enhance public sector green spaces and their connectivity for pollinating species and wildlife whilst also enhancing these green spaces for people to enjoy. This includes planting orchards and hedgerows and transforming roadsides into a blaze of wildflowers. There is a strong emphasis on training and education working with schools and community groups to improve habitats across the four counties. The project is also developing a long term Green Infrastructure Action Plan for land owned by the public sector and 3 other key stakeholders which will provide the medium to long term natural resource work programme for the areas. 

In the Llynfi Valley, Natural Resources Wales are working with the local Health Trust, local authority, schools and communities to implement a woodland creation project that will transform a former washery site into 30 hectares of woodland creating accessible green space for the community to use.