£1m Welsh fund secured for traditional upland sheep farming

Upland sheep farmers in the Black Mountains of Wales have secured £1m in funding to help improve the viability of traditional farming practices in the area.

The Black Mountains Land Use Partnership (BMLUP) will use the grant from the Welsh government to ensure the continued improvement, restoration and sustainable management of natural resources.

This includes bracken management, heather regeneration, improvement of grazing land and protection of peat resources.

See also: How selling mutton and hogget is benefiting upland sheep farm

Improvements to livestock access will aid stock management and also provide a better visitor experience to the area.

Long process

The Black Mountains consist of an expanse of upland common that spans Wales and England across the counties of Breconshire, Monmouthshire and Herefordshire.

The funding has been awarded through the Welsh government’s Rural Communities Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.

National Sheep Association chief executive and BMLUP chairman Phil Stocker welcomed the funding. He said it was the culmination of a huge amount of commitment to a process that took more than a year.

“The Black Mountains is a living and working landscape that is dependent on the viability of hundreds of private businesses working within, and being reliant on, an environment and landscape that is sustainable, attractive and delivers multiple economic, environmental and social outcomes.

“This grant will not only make a huge difference to the future of its rural communities, but also to the people who visit the area.”

The partnership consists of key stakeholders including graziers from the Black Mountains Graziers Association, a number of private landowners, along with public land owning bodies such as the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Natural Resources Wales, Natural England and Welsh Water.

The BMLUP also intends to develop a rural skills programme, engage with schools and create employment opportunities such as two partnership ranger posts.