Work starts to restore Snowdonia river

Nant Gwryd before work starts

Work to restore a river in Snowdonia so that it flows naturally and attracts more wildlife starts this week (Monday 14 September 2020).

A kilometre section of Nant Gwryd, which flows into Llynnau Mymbyr near Plas y Brenin Outdoor Centre, will be reconnected to its natural flood plain with fish spawning areas improved.

The work is the latest phase of Natural Resources Wales and the National Trust’s joint project to improve the environment of the Upper Conwy catchment – an area that covers 336 km2.

Bethan Beech, Upper Conwy Catchment Project Officer on behalf of the two organisations explains: “Work to restore Nant Gwryd will bring many benefits.
“It will boost wildlife including fisheries, insect and bird life, making it a great place for nature. And slowing the river’s flow will help reduce flood risk in areas lower down the valley.
“This previously modified section of Nant Gwryd has steep banks that prevent water reaching the original floodplain. By lowering parts of the banks and moving boulders, the river will meander once again and reconnect with the floodplain at times of peak flow.
“Creating more structural diversity in the river, including areas where the water can pool and riffle, will be fantastic for brown trout. Otter will benefit too.”

All this is possible by working closely with the local farmer so that benefits for sustainable farming develop as part of the project. For example, some fencing work will be undertaken to prevent cattle and sheep from entering the river, bringing more gains in terms of water quality.

And hedges and trees will be planted to slow overland flow, help filter water and stabilise the river banks, as well as creating wildlife corridors to connect isolated habitats.

Bethan added: “This is just one part of our work, with the invaluable help of the local community, to take care of the Upper Conwy catchment’s environment by finding sustainable solutions that bring multiple benefits.”

You can find out more about the Upper Conwy Catchment Project and the National Trust’s Riverlands Programme here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/projects/upper-conwy-catchment-project

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