Designated Landscape Status for the Cambrian Mountains

Sefydlu Ardal o Harddwch Naturiol Eithriadol

cambrian mountains aonb designation cwm elan

The Cambrian Mountains Society campaigns for the Cambrian Mountains region to be legally designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or “AONB”.  An AONB is a designated exceptional landscape whose distinctive character and natural beauty are precious enough to be safeguarded in the national interest. But they are not “open air museums”, stifling all change.  AONBs are dynamic, living landscapes that underpin the economy, health and wellbeing of Wales.  Yet, while North and South Wales each have several National Parks and AONBs, the glorious upland landscape of Mid-Wales remains bafflingly unrecognised.

Although a previous campaign to designate the region as a National Park was turned down, the Minister who did so expressly stated that the designation of AONB was appropriate. That was 1972 – yet nothing was done.  We believe the time has come to give the Cambrian Mountains the designation they so clearly deserve.

How would AONB designation help?

Unlike a National Park, an AONB first and foremost serves the local community and helps to promote the local economy.  An AONB would provide a range of benefits including:

  • A valuable brand to improve recognition for local businesses and products;
  • A mechanism to bring more investment through the Sustainable Development Fund into our area to support and stimulate new businesses and help existing ones develop further;
  • A sponsor for large-scale management projects, including helping farmers work collaboratively to get grants under the Sustainable Management Scheme;
  • A leader to identify and manage conservation work both to preserve our cultural heritage like chapels and mines and for the biodiversity of peatlands, woodlands and rivers;
  • A provider of training for locals in new and additional skills like horticulture and hedge-laying;
  • A focus for Community projects like tree planting and controlling invasive non-native species.

AONB status would ensure that a long term, coherent plan addressing the multiple issues which affect the Cambrian uplands and their communities would be prepared and its implementation overseen by a partnership including representatives of:

  • the county councils of Carmarthenshire, Ceredgion and Powys,
  • Natural Resources Wales and Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water,
  • landowners and managers such as the Elan Valley Trust,
  • local communities,
  • the tourist industry and other local business organisations such as Chambers of Commerce and the Cambrian Mountains Initiative,
  • third sector organisations such as the RSPB and National Trust, and
  • other stakeholders such as the farming unions.

Only through such an overarching management plan can the complex set of challenges our uplands face be properly addressed.

Link: CMS Proposal for Designation of the Cambrian Mountains