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Conserving the Park

From Conserving Coastal Slopes to Conserving the Park

Back in 1999, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority received funding from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund for a three-year project called ‘Conserving The Coastal Slopes – Gwarchod Y Godiroedd’. This was set up to address the decline in traditional farming practices (primarily grazing) along the coast and the resulting decline in its internationally important coastal wildlife.

This included coastal heath and flower-rich maritime grassland, together with a host of species which depend on them, the flagship being the rare chough which has Pembrokeshire as one of its strongholds. The project was well-received and developed as it went along, in order to meet the needs of coastal landowners and wildlife.

Welsh Mountain Ponies grazing at Strumble Head
Welsh mountain ponies grazing at Strumble Head. 

Conserving the Park - the project today

We found that the lessons we learnt from managing the coast were also applicable to other habitats and other parts of the National Park, so when the original scheme ended in 2002, it was rolled out accordingly – this time as ‘Conserving the Park – Gwarchod y Parc’. Under-grazing is a key problem facing many habitats today; at the other end of the spectrum, there is also a need to restore land which has been intensively managed. The project aims to address both these issues – and everything inbetween.

The scheme is now core-funded by the National Park Authority, which is recognition of the importance of the scheme in meeting the Authority’s primary purpose to conserve and enhance its natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage.

Core funding means that participants don’t need to worry about the scheme ending after a few years, unlike many projects these days. This gives landowners confidence to join the scheme, particularly if they are going to significantly change the way they manage their land or make a considerable financial investment.

We have a rolling programme of sustainable land management advice, guidance and practical assistance that has included 220+ sites covering 2500+ hectares since the scheme began. This advice and the guidelines can be found in the Help for your wildlife on your land downloadable leaflets.

Our aim is to reinstate the network of wildlife friendly corridors and to manage and enlarge the key wildlife habitats that make up the circulation system of our countryside. This will give species the chance to establish larger, more sustainable populations, and to create new ones.

The idea therefore, is to optimise conditions for wildlife; however, wherever and whenever we can!

A report on 15 years of the Conserving the Park was released in 2019 to summarise what we have learnt over the 15 years of running the scheme and to celebrate some of its successes.

 15 Years of Conserving the Park report cover

For more information on the scheme please contact Conservation Officer Julie Garlick via julieg@pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk or call 01646 624800.