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Turning back the eco clock; Upland farm drains being in-filled.

Byline: ANDREW FORGRAVE Rural Affairs Editor

GO GREEN MINI-diggers this week moved on to the uplands above Caernarfon as a project got underway to reverse decades of drainage work.

The 33ha Cors Ffridd Uchaf blanket bog at Rhyd-ddu is being restored from the "damage" it suffered from fire and intensive farm drainage.

The bog was famously referred to by Rhyd-ddu poet Sir TH Parry-Williams in the final verse of his poem, Cynefin.

Preparation work on the Cors Ffridd Uchaf Peat land Restoration Project began in September.

It is being financed by the ERD Fund.

In recent weeks, National Park officers have been joined by students from Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle in marking out some of the 12km of ditches that will be in-filled.

Gethin Davies, climate change officer at Snowdonia National Park Authority, said the experience had given the youngsters an on-the-ground insight into ecosystems management.

He said: "They learnt of the benefits this project will bring to the biodiversity of the area," he said.

"The restoration of the site will also increase the peat land's ability to lock up carbon and improve water quality in the Afon Gwyrfai catchment at the same time.

"Our aim now is to use this project as an example to other landowners in the area which will, in turn, lead to similar projects elsewhere in the future."

The bog's 700,000 sq metres of peat remains intact and the key species required for peat growth, such as sphagnum, or peat moss, can still be found.

This week contractors from Waunfawr, Nantlle and Chwilog began pushing spoil into old farm ditches. The spoil was left when the ditches were originally opened, On the less intensely drained southern section, contractors and volunteers will build several peat dams along the shallower channels.

These dams will encourage water retention, enabling plants such as bog asphodel, sundew and sphagnum to re-establish.

In time the project hopes to create habitats suitable for creatures such as dragonflies and toads.

The work is scheduled for completion by February 2013. ? The ERD Fund is the Ecosystem Resilience and Diversity Fund, administered by CCW to support projects that ensure ecosystems are more resilient and diverse.


Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle pupils join SNPA's Angharad Harris in marking out the ditches
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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Nov 22, 2012
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