Gwent Wildlife Trust and the South East Wales Resilient Uplands (SEWRU) project

South East Wales Resilient Uplands (SEWRU) project logo

The South East Wales Resilient Uplands (SEWRU) is a 3-year (2018-2021) collaborative project, led by Torfaen Council, and involving Gwent Wildlife Trust, Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent Councils, Natural Resources Wales, Police, Fire and Rescue Services, Gwent Wildlife Trust and the Brecon Beacons National Park.

SEWRU's focus is delivering priority actions from the Natural Resource Management Plan for South-east Wales Uplands (NRMP) which was produced in 2015.

The NRMP identifies solutions to many challenges that our uplands face, such as declining farm incomes, loss of habitat and key species, and landscape crime such as illegal use of off-road vehicles, fly-tipping and arson.

The SEWRU project covers an area of some 200sq km, on land which is over 200m in altitude within Torfaen, Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent.

It is funded by the Welsh Government’s Rural Communities–Rural Development Programme 2014- 2020 and the European Union’s European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and aims to:

· Deliver land management to improve soils, water quality and regulation, grazing, biodiversity, and carbon storage

· Strengthen relationships between stakeholders and commoners to support upland communities

· Build capacity through volunteering, training and community engagement

· Increase farm competitiveness and viability through diversification and development of innovative business opportunities

· Tackle the underlying causes of upland degradation caused by poor land management and anti-social problems such as fly-tipping, arson and illegal off-roading

· Provide opportunities for quiet recreation and enhance the area’s tourism offer

To date the project has identified and begun peatland restoration pilots, produced common land management plans, installed physical barriers to reduce landscape crime and managed important upland heathland to reduce fire risk and facilitate conservation grazing. SEWRU is currently working with Gwent Police and others to produce upland-focussed landscape crime management plans.

Gwent Wildlife Trust's work with SEWRU

What are Gwent Wildlife Trust doing for the SEWRU project?

As a SEWRU project partner, Gwent Wildlife Trust have been selected to deliver a number of activities during 2020 to promote the uplands as a place to visit for tourism and recreation whilst also promoting the sustainable use of the area.

We plan to help showcase the uplands, raising awareness both locally and nationally of the area as a valuable and rewarding resource in which to work, play, visit and live.

As part of this Gwent Wildlife Trust are running a photography competition called Hill Life Through a Lens through and will be holding a series of free guided walks and training courses throughout 2020, aimed to highlight the wonderful wildlife of the uplands and practical skills needed to manage it.

Welsh Government European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development logo