Brecon Beacons Local Nature Partnership are in an unusual position, being located within the national park with access to a great deal of nature. This allows them to focus on helping the natural landscape to be even more biodiverse and resilient.
With their Local Places for Nature (LPfN) funding, their aim was to enrich grassland across the park with native wildflowers. Their first priority was to find out what activity was already taking place within the area with regard to seed harvesting. They commissioned a consultant to undertake a study of the current situation. They developed a network to get as many local communities and landowners on board as possible, which allows greater sharing and use of locally sourced wildflower seed throughout the Brecon Beacons National Park.
In their pilot stage, seed was harvested from 6 locations across the Beacons, and planted in 18 locations including roadside verges at Garwnant Visitor Centre, woodland edges, the wildlife garden at Brecon Beacons National Park Visitor Centre and species-poor hay meadows. These initial steps provided the LNP with practical insight into the requirements and challenges that would be faced when scaling up operations. Many volunteers and community groups were involved in collecting, sorting and processing the seeds, including young people, an LGBT+ group, and even some sheep. The first two enjoyed learning about the importance of using local provenance seed and the latter enjoyed eating the seed to later spread across the field.
Community groups attended the project’s Feasibility Report launch to learn about how they can become involved in the project as it continues. This event was also attended by several other Local Nature Partnerships and Public Bodies and the Report itself has been shared across Wales to inform future activities.
The LNP has continued the work into the current funding period, and a key challenge identified in the pilot stage was having sufficient capacity and facilities to dry and store the seeds. They have worked with National Trust to set up a seed drying facility at the at the Ty Mawr Farm site. They are going to purchase a shipping container and contract a specialist to fit it out so that it can be used by all the partners involved in the project. This will help to maintain long term improvements to biodiversity and ecosystem resilience across Bannau Brycheiniog, allowing future generations to enjoy this rich and beautiful landscape.