Natural Resource Management in the Dyfi

Birds eye view of Dyfi

Overview of the Dyfi

The Dyfi has an outstanding natural environment and is one of the most scenic areas in Wales. The geography of the area ranges from the mountains of Aran Fawddwy in south Snowdonia, to sea level and beaches at Borth and Aberdovey.

The area comprises a wide range of habitat types, from blanket bogs in the mountains, through woodland and farmland, down to the coastal salt marshes, mud flats and sand dunes. Each of these habitat types support a rich and diverse variety of flora and fauna and provides a unique range of ‘ecosystem services’ that are important to people living and visiting the Dyfi.

Farmland and woodland deliver services such as food and timber; blanket bogs provide services such as carbon storage and flood alleviation; while sand dunes provide recreation and tourism.

The Dyfi has a rich cultural and industrial heritage and was once an important for lead mining, which has challenges in relation to water quality. The main economic activities are farming, forestry and tourism but renewable energy also plays an increasingly important role. The area is dominated by the Afon Dyfi itself and its many tributaries, which provide fertile floodplain grazing areas, recreational opportunities as well as spawning grounds for fish – such as salmon and sea trout.

Key projects:

  • Spatially mapping geo-system services in the Dyfi
  • Mapping Barriers to fish migration in the Dyfi
  • Dyfi habitat network – restoration of 78 hectare plantation on ancient woodland sites on the NRW estate to form part of a Dyfi ‘resilience’ network
  • Pennal natural flood risk project to model the Pennal catchment and make recommendations on changing the drainage network in the NRW managed estate
  • Grassland project
  • Opportunity mapping of marine and intertidal ecosystem

Our approach in the Dyfi

Our task is to produce:

  • A draft ‘area statement’
  • Learn from the process and feed the learning back into NRW as well as help provide evidence to inform the ‘Environment Bill’ in Wales (due to be introduced in 2017)

Our approach so far has consisted of three main elements:

Gathering Evidence

We have collated evidence, identified gaps and commissioned research for a wide range of ecosystem services relevant to the Dyfi. We have also tried new mapping approaches to help us understand where various ecosystem services are delivered. This will enable NRW and our partners and stakeholders to make informed decisions about how we manage our natural resources. It will also help identify opportunities to better utilise our resources.

Stakeholder Engagement and communication

We cannot successfully do this alone, working with others is the key to delivering multiple benefits from our natural resources. So far, we have had discussions with Local Authorities, NGO’s, the Dyfi Biosphere partnership and others as well as convening large stakeholder events.

The report of the July stakeholder event will be released in early September. The issues identified at this workshop will be explored in more depth at our second workshop planned for 17 October, 2015. This workshop will look at the evidence and discuss the need for, and type of actions required. The team will also be undertaking further drop-in exhibitions over the summer making use of existing events. Also, more questionnaires will be disseminated and collected during the coming weeks and months, and a synthesis of the results will be presented and explored at the second workshop. We will also be continuing to talk to partners, landowners and individuals in the Dyfi.

Feedback questionnaire

We would like you give us feedback on our engagement and communication by completing this questionnaire.

Your views will help inform the way forward and feed into the Area Statement being produced for the Dyfi to guide appropriate protection, management and use of the area’s natural resources.

If you supply your contact details, you will receive updates in the future and an invitation to a workshop on 17 October.

The more specific you can be, the more your views will help inform the way forward.

Send your completed questionnaires to or by post to Patrick Green, Natural Resources Wales, Powells Place, Powells Lane, Welshpool. SY21 7JY.

Projects to inform the process

Over the past few months, we’ve started working on a range of projects as part of the trial. The projects deliver local improvements, add to our evidence base and enables us to learn how we can involve, inform and inspire people about their natural environment. Many of these projects, such as the mapping fish barriers, have required collaboration with third sector organisations and stakeholders.

Case Study – Mapping Barriers to Fish migration in the Dyfi

A healthy inland fishery is important in terms of biodiversity, recreation and tourism. Barriers to fish migration is seen as a key issue that needs to be addressed in order to improve inland fisheries. While some data existed we did not have a comprehensive picture of the barriers to fish migration in the catchment. By working with local angling clubs - we collected the information we need to make an informed decision as to where to concentrate efforts in the area. The project found and mapped 126 barriers to fish migration, 44 of which were classified as total barriers. These barriers will form part of action plans for Afonydd Cymru and NRW.

Case Study - Pennal Forest Resilience

The project produced a hydrological study looking at Natural Flood Risk management to help reduce Peak flows in the NRW managed forest block above the village of Pennal. We will now look to develop a project to implement the capital works and monitor the findings, on the ground.


The following reports have been produced during the Dyfi trial:

  • Opportunity mapping for woodland creation to reduce diffuse pollution in Wales’ Integrated Natural Resource Management Pilot Catchments (Rhondda, Tawe and Dyfi) – by Forest Research (March 2015)
  • Map Section - Opportunity mapping for woodland creation to reduce diffuse pollution in Wales’ Integrated Natural Resource Management Pilot Catchments (Rhondda, Tawe and Dyfi) – by Forest Research (March 2015)
  • Summary Applied Geology of the Dyfi Catchment – by the British Geological Survey
  • Ecosystem service provision (Fisheries Resource) in the Dyfi Estuary System – by Environment Systems Ltd (July 2015)
  • Pennal Upstream Catchment Drainage Study – by Black and Veatch Limited (June 2015)

For a copy of a report, please email

Opportunities for sustainably managing the Dyfi’s natural resources

To help Wales prepare for the new Environment (Wales) and Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Acts, Natural Resources Wales set up three natural resource management trials in the Rhondda and Tawe catchments in South Wales and Dyfi catchment in Mid Wales. The documents below describe the trial and what we learnt about how to apply the principles of sustainable management of natural resources at a local scale. This information is based on two years of working with organisations, community groups and residents in the area, extensive evidence gathering and knowledge sharing. 

These documents are not Area Statements and are non-statutory (as the work preceded the Environment (Wales) Act).  However, they provide a local framework for the Public Service Board, organisations, community groups, local business and people to use and refer to. They can be used by communities and organisations to work better together and deliver outcomes which deliver multiple benefits. They can encourage better working between partners by focussing resources on clearly identified opportunities and can also be used to support both local and landscape scale proposals for funding.

Dyfi Opportunities Volume 1

Dyfi Opportunities Volume 2

Contact details

If you’d like to get involved or have any questions, please email:

Related document downloads

Questionnaire WORD [129.0 KB]
Last updated