Charity seeks community’s ideas on forest area | Business Wales

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Coetir Anian is a charity managing a 350 acre site, Bwlch Corog, near Glaspwll, restoring heathland and bog and increasing native tree cover, as well as hosting education and wellbeing activities for local communities. 

The project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Project Officer, Nia Huw, explains, “Bwlch Corog was an abandoned area of land. Over the last four years, the Coetir Anian project has brought it back into positive management including grazing. The charity brings around £200,000 every year into the local economy, creating jobs and contract work and sourcing materials locally. The aim has always been to provide benefits not just for wildlife but also for local people and visitors to the area.”

The property neighbouring Bwlch Corog, Maesycilyn, is a 950 acre commercial forestry plantation owned by investment company Gresham House and managed by the well-known forestry company Tilhill.

A draft plan has been made for the management of Maesycilyn as part of the process of certifying it as sustainably managed through the UK Woodland Assurance Standard. As a neighbour, the charity has been consulted on the draft plan, and they feel strongly that the views of the local community should be included in their response to Tilhill.

The draft plan for Maesycilyn shows a felling plan along with the proposed species for replanting the felled areas for the period 2021-2041. The replanting will be almost entirely with commercial conifer species, mainly Sitka spruce.

Coetir Anian is proposing more integration of natural habitats into the plans for Maesycilyn, in view of its location alongside the scenic Cwm Llyfnant, which is a protected site, and with three neighbouring properties around the forestry with an interest in regenerative farming and nature conservation.

As well as Bwlch Corog, the neighbours include the privately owned Dynyn and RSPB’s Allt Ddu reserve, both managed with conservation grazing. Maesycilyn provides a unique opportunity to contribute to local wildlife and recreation through enabling connectivity across the landscape.

The charity’s proposals are:

  • To restore the Ancient Woodland areas in the Llyfnant catchment to native woodland.
  • To increase native woodland or heathland, either across the whole site, or in some areas such as near watercourses and the boundary zones of the forestry.
  • To enable connectivity through Maesycilyn, or part of it, for herbivores to travel between the three other properties.

Maesycilyn neighbouring properties map

The proposal does not affect the felling plan for the existing stands of conifers, so timber production would not be affected for 30 to 40 years. The idea is to restock by natural regeneration and gradually integrate grazing, over some, or all of the forestry property.

Coetir Anian would like to hear the views of local people in the Glaspwll and Machynlleth area. What do you think of the ideas for habitat restoration? Do you consider that timber production should be maintained at full capacity at Maesycilyn for the long term? Would you like to see something in between with management for timber and wildlife in parallel, and in what proportions?

Nia Huw said, “People have a strong connection to their local landscape, and their views need to be considered by large land-owning organisations.”

To share your views contact post@coetiranian.org These will be included in Coetir Anian’s response to the draft plan for Maesycilyn.

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