Llanfair Caereinion Pontbren Project

Llanfair Caereinion Pontbren Project

Eco-Agriculture/Permaculture

Overview

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Pontbren Farmers' Group, made up of 10 neighbouring upland farms near have been working together since 2001.

One of the group's aims has been to improve shelter for livestock. They planted 120,000 trees and shrubs, restored neglected woods and more than 10 miles (16km) of hedge. As well as planting trees and shrubs, the group has also created numerous ponds. Another of the group's aims was to cut costs and make their farms more sustainable for the next generation of farmers.

The land the group farms covers about 2,400 acres (1,000 hectares), of which nearly 5% is woodland, pond and hedgerow. By planting trees and restoring neglected woods and hedges, it allowed the farmers to have hardier breeds of sheep which are better suited to graze upland areas. The planting also had the unexpected benefit of reducing water run-off from grassland in heavy rain, and led to research and important new evidence of the role trees can play in flood control. "The Pontbren project works because it has been led from the outset by farmers who were willing to take an innovative approach.

Lessons learned from the project.

* agri/environmental outputs through their participation in the Pontbren Project than by participating in other Welsh Government agri-environment schemes, which lack flexibility.
* Farmers felt that the flexibility of funding for Pontbren helped them avoid the frustrations caused by the administrative and regulatory burdens perceived to be associated with more traditional funding methods.
* The project demonstrated that co-operative working can be effective in a small farmer group.
* Access to facilitators offering core business management advice is an essential support service for farmers.
* Success of hydrological support for agro-forestry and ecological matters was a key factor in the pilot.
* Pontbren Project participants saw the farming benefits of added value timber.

http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/mediafile/100084045/Pontbren-project.pdf

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