Reseeding work to begin on fire-damaged Llantysilio Mountain

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is set to begin another phase in a large partnership restoration project on Llantysilio Mountain in response to a devastating wildfire in the summer of 2018.

This next stage will involve sowing a mixture of grass seed on the worst damaged areas, with the aim of kickstarting the growth of native plants.

Backed by funding from the Welsh Government’s Biodiversity and Ecosystem Resilience Fund, NRW is working in close partnership with the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB0), the North Wales Fire Service and Hafren Dyfrdwy as well as local landowners and land managers to deliver the project.  

The scheme will use two seeding techniques to maximise the effectiveness of the work - hydroseeding and conventional grass seeding.

Hydroseeding is a technique that has been used effectively for over half a century on fire damaged land and involves spreading native grass seed combined with a specialist mulch mixture on the most damaged parts of the mountain.

The hydroseeding element of the project will use large quantities of water supplied by Hafren Dyfrdwy. The Fire Service will provide crucial assistance through the pumping of water up the mountain and storing it in temporary reservoirs. This exercise also provides an opportunity for them to train for any future upland or other hard to reach wildfires.

The conventional grass seeding will take place on the areas of the mountain with less damage and will be carried out using a low-pressure alpine tractor with a mounted seed spreader. This kind of tractor will cause minimal damage to the ground while also being able to navigate across difficult terrain.

Nick Thomas, principle advisor at NRW, said:

“Llantsyilio Mountain provides effective habitat for rare wildlife like curlew and black grouse, is heavily used by walkers and is vital grazing land for local farmers. It was devastating to see the impact of the fire in 2018. The vegetation on some parts of the mountain has returned fairly quickly and it is encouraging that we now have the resources available to repair the worst affected areas.
“This rejuvenation project looks to repair some of the damage caused by those fires and we’re thrilled to be working with our partners to get it started.
“Working in partnerships on projects like this means we can ensure Wales’ forests are looked after and preserved for current and future generations to enjoy.”

Paul Scott, Senior Fire Safety Manager, said:

“This initiative is another great way of working in partnership with our colleagues at Natural Resources Wales and other partners and we are proud that our crews are able to assist with the restoration of the land. This project also allows our crews the opportunity to carry out essential training for mountain and upland fires that we might have to attend in the future.”

Cllr Tony Thomas, the Council’s Lead Member for Housing and Communities, said:

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with NRW and the other partners on this project.  It’s a challenging environment to be working in using quite innovative techniques so we are really pleased to be able to call upon such a broad partnership of expertise.  Significant areas of the mountain have still not recovered following the 2018 fire but we are hopeful that this will give it the boost it needs. “

This phase of the project will begin on 18 October, aiming to finish by the end of November.

Other works here this autumn will include heather mowing. The cuttings will then be spread on damaged land, a technique that has proven successful here in previous years.