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National Park heathland bedding boost for farmers and biodiversity

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority is making farmers aware of an opportunity to use heather and gorse from Pembrokeshire’s heathlands as animal bedding over the winter as a cheaper alternative to straw.

The work to cut the vegetation also improves the structure, quality and biodiversity of the heathland and gives livestock the opportunity to graze previously overgrown areas.

Farmers are being encouraged to use heath and gorse from Pembrokeshire’s heathlands as an alternative to straw bedding.
Farmers are being encouraged to use heath and gorse from Pembrokeshire’s heathlands as an alternative to straw bedding.

Park Authority Farm Conservation Officer, Geraint Jones said: “This is the first time we have offered the material to farmers, although it has been used successfully by the National Trust at Southwood Farm near Newgale, as well as by farmers on the Llyn Peninsula and Anglesey.

“The heathland bedding was recently displayed by Park Authority staff at the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service stand at the Pembrokeshire County Show, with many farmers showing an interest in the idea. Although this does not solve the winter bedding issues faced by farmers due to the price of straw, we hope it can be a useful contribution.”

Harvesting the heather and gorse from the heathland also reduces the fuel load and the risk of wildfires. This opportunity ties in with the work the National Park Authority undertakes as one of the partners of the Pembrokeshire Wildlife Group.

The National Park Authority cuts fire breaks annually to help graziers burn vegetation safely and in a controlled manner. Cutting this additional vegetation will add to these wildfire defences.

The National Park Authority and Pembrokeshire Wildfire Group will be seeking to satisfy demand for the heathland bedding over the next few weeks.

For more information on how you can take advantage of this offer, please contact Farm Conservation Officer, Geraint Jones via GeraintJ@pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk or 07967 653482.

Published 31 August 2018


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