Charity takes out loan to boost nature in Wales


Radnorshire Wildlife Trust (RWT) has launched an appeal to help breathe new life into Pentwyn – an upland in the Welsh Marches.

The charity took out a loan to buy 66 ha – about the size of 80 rugby pitches – in a bid to help wildlife fight back and tackle climate change, river pollution and flooding across central Wales.

It now needs to raise £1 million to secure the future of the land at Pentwyn for people and nature. Additional funds are also needed to restore the land – for example, £1,000 could pay to plant 300 m of hedgerow. RWT says it wants Pentwyn to be a "blueprint for reversing the decline of Welsh wildlife".

Until now, Pentwyn has been intensively managed (Radnorshire Wildlife Trust).

Iolo Williams, Wildlife TV presenter and Patron of Radnorshire Wildlife Trust, commented: "In Wales we've lost beautiful birds such as Common Nightingale and Corn Bunting – and the haunting call of Eurasian Curlew and purring of European Turtle Dove may soon disappear too. Much-loved animals such as Red Squirrels and Water Voles, which were once widespread in Wales, are now only found at a few sites and are threatened with extinction. Nature is in crisis, and we need to help wildlife fightback fast.

"We're appealing to people everywhere to help us secure and protect this land for the future. Nature needs it and so do we because time spent in natural places soothes our souls and makes us feel good – people will be welcome at Pentwyn. Please donate if you can – nothing is too small to help!"

The land at Pentwyn, near Llandrindod Wells, will be transformed from an intensively farmed landscape into wetlands, scrub and potentially new woodland, as well as increasing plant diversity to ensure the landscape is better equipped to cope with climate change. It sits beside other wild land so there is potential to help wildlife thrive across a wider area by expanding and connecting habitats and increasing nature's resilience to climate change.

Wales is close to the bottom of the international league table of 240 countries for nature. A 2021 report found that Wales has lost around half of its wild animals and plants, and that one in six species is threatened with extinction in the country. More than 60% of protected rivers in Wales exceed phosphate pollution limits.

By restoring nature, the landscape will also retain more rainwater, filtering it and releasing it more slowly – this will help to keep the nearby River Lugg clean and healthy.

James Hitchcock, Chief Executive Officer of Radnorshire Wildlife Trust, said: "Welsh wildlife is under a huge amount of pressure, but everyone can do their bit to help us restore nature to Pentwyn. This project will benefit us all – it'll be somewhere to enjoy a wander through the wild, listen to the waterfall, see the flash of a Wood Warbler, and watch butterflies flit across a wilder hillside.

"Pentwyn will also store more carbon, help tackle the climate crisis, stop rainwater washing off the hill too quickly and help reduce pollution levels in the River Lugg. Creating more space for nature will have the added benefit of boosting tourism and creating more green jobs."

You can donate to the Pentwyn appeal here.