Welsh common in environment scheme

A GROUP OF farmers has made a successful joint application for the 95ha (235-acre) common on which they have grazing rights to enter the Welsh Assembly”s principle agri-environment scheme.

This will give graziers using Garn Goch Common in the Brecon Beacons National Park, an annual payment for caring for important habitats, wildlife and historical features, including the remains of two Iron Age hill forts. They will also share an annual payment for providing public access.

It is the first common land agreement to be signed. The application to join the Tir Gofal scheme followed extensive consultation between the graziers, the national park authority and CADW, the body responsible for the protection of ancient monuments in Wales.

Grazier Nick Sommerfield, who farms at Cruglas, Bethlehem in Carmarthenshire, said the Tir Gofal contract was a chance to return the common land to agricultural use.

For decades it had not been possible to use the common because of difficulties preventing stock straying. Now cattle grids would be installed.

Work already under way to clear bracken and encourage the re-establishment of natural heathland would be further enhanced by membership of the scheme.

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