WOODLAND rojects near Machynlleth and Lampeter are to benefit from fresh funding.

In total,10 Welsh woodland projects are to benefit from a Welsh Government grant programme to create, restore and enhance woodlands.

These include Coetir Anian near Machynlleth that has received £90,000 and Cynwyl Gaeo on the Dolaucothi estate in Carmarthenshire, which has received £249,000.

Coetir Anian, Bwlch Corog, Glas Pwll, has received a £90,462 grant for its ‘Woodland connections in the Llyfnant catchment’ project to the south of Machynlleth.

It aims to create a 50-hectare mosaic structure ranging from dense thicket to high canopy forest, with gaps, glades, and a dynamic woodland edge connected to neighbouring woodland through wood pasture.

Ten hectares will be continuous, ecologically-rich, native broadleaf woodland. The woodland will be accessible and engaging for the local community, especially younger generations who will become custodians of the landscape. The project will run twice-yearly woodland community events and will offer free transport, refreshments, waterproof clothing, and bilingual communications.

Katy Harris, Project Director at Coetir Anian said: “We are a small charity managing Bwlch Corog, an upland site near Machynlleth. We restore habitats for biodiversity and provide opportunities for the local community to be involved, including volunteering and activities for children and young people. Our woodland is a special place – our ancient semi-natural oak wood, a classic example of Wales’ temperate rainforest, is home to rare birds, insects and lichens. The grant will help us to expand our area of native woodland, restore a larch plantation and plant trees on our ffridd (wood pasture) slopes. With the help of volunteers, we will open up an overgrown permissive footpath, making a circular trail through our woodland for all to enjoy.”

Pumsaint woods
Pumsaint Woods bluebell walk (Supplied)

The National Trust is receiving £249,011 for this project to support the woodlands at the Dolaucothi estate which are a critical natural resource and part of the Celtic Rainforest. The woodlands face significant issues from non-native invasive species – Himalayan balsam and Japanese knotweed, uncontrolled grazing and previous land management. Among the work to be carried out, the ‘Dolaucothi Celtic Rainforest Restoration’ project will restore 83 hectares - the size of 100 football pitches, by eradicating the non-native invasive species. The National Trust will also replace 5,886 meters (almost 6 km or 3.6 miles) of fencing to stop uncontrolled grazing and there will be specialist lichen surveys carried out to protect the forest’s critical lichen communities.

Dai Hart, National Trust Cymru’s Countryside Manager for Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion said: “This grant award will go a long way in helping National Trust Cymru improve the wooded hillsides of the Dolaucothi estate for the benefit of nature and people. The project aims to tackle the spread of non-native invasive species, improve, and better manage habitats whilst also increasing access for the local community and visitors. Alongside this we want to support partner organisations including the Vincent Wildlife Trust’s re-introduction programme of pine marten and the Mid Wales Red Squirrel Partnership in protecting the small population of red squirrels we are lucky enough to have here.”

Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said, “I am delighted to see such a high level of interest in The Woodland Investment Grant, which will help us to grow our National Forest network across Wales.

“We want to encourage more people to use and get involved in their local woodlands and green space. This funding for a further ten projects will help us all to reconnect with nature both for our own well-being and to help protect our natural environment and the wildlife it supports.”

TWIG is part of the National Forest for Wales programme to create a network of publicly accessible woodlands and forests throughout Wales.

The grant programme is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with the Welsh Government.

Andrew White, Director of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales said: “Funding natural heritage projects which help tackle the effects of climate change and support nature’s recovery is a key priority for The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales. The Woodland Investment Grant – run in partnership with the Welsh Government, is just one of the ways that we are meeting this objective.

“From the creation of new woodlands and the restoration of others, these grants will also contribute to the National Forest for Wales initiative, enhance capacity to adapt to the climate crisis and bring direct health benefits to the people and communities involved.”