Nature Networks Funding helping to protect wildlife and plants in Eryri

Wildlife and rare plants at a biodiverse beauty spot in Eryri have been given a boost.

Work at Fairy Glen Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) near Conwy Falls is helping to protect wildlife and plants by controlling non-native invasive plant species.

Rhododendron, cherry laurel, yellow azalea, and western hemlock threaten native species which provide shelter and food for breeding birds such as wood warbler and dipper as well as several species of bat including lesser horseshoe and brown long-eared.

Local contractors using roped access are controlling vegetation in and around the steep river gorge to prevent further spread.

The work was commissioned by Natural Resources Wales in partnership with the National Trust Cymru and Eryri National Park Authority and is funded by the Welsh Government’s Nature Network Fund to strengthen the resilience of Wales’s protected land and marine sites.

Rob Booth, Biodiversity Restoration Officer for NRW, said:

“Fairy Glen and Conwy Falls have been an enduring attraction for visitors to Eryri for more than 200 years. People are attracted and profoundly moved by the sheer scale, power and natural beauty of this waterfall and gorge.

“Control and removal of non-native invasive species will reduce shading and competition with native species. This will help the gorge provide ideal conditions for a range of mosses, lichen, and ferns, including heart’s tongue fern and soft shield fern and several other rare species which grow on boulders in the river, on trees and exposed rocky outcrops in the woodland.

“As well as birds, bats, rare mosses and plants, Fairy Glen SSSI is home to a wide range of wildlife such as otters, badgers, wood ant colonies, salmon and the scarce alder leaf beetle and pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly.

"By gradually and sensitively removing non-native invasive plant species, we are ensuring rare mosses, as well as other wildlife and plants, found in the gorge are not adversely affected.”