Promoting observation, free range exploration, sense of place and citizen science, through the field notes of a naturalist.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

We ride with impunity

The early morning Bank Holiday Monday visit to the margins of Waunafon Bog was thrilling and depressing in equal measure. Thrilling because my hope that a grasshopper warbler would be reeling was confirmed, in fact there may have been two birds. I went into stealth mode in the hope that the loudly reeling bird could be photographed in action, But despite having a grandstand view of the scrub from whence the bird was singing, as hard as I tried it was impossible to pinpoint. Moving on a male stonechat was fencepost hoping and parties of swallow were sweeping silently over the bog purposefully heading north. Other birds noted were linnet, three pair of reed bunting, two snipe and two flyover Canada goose.

And now for the depressing part - look away now those of a nervous disposition. The bog itself is a long time neglected ecological asset of SSSI quality. At the headwaters of the Afon Lwyd water appears to have been diverted away from the bog to prevent it causing a flooding problem on a nearby road. This has contributed to a perception that it is drying out in places illustrated by increased scrub growth. Nonetheless the bog, whose role in carbon storage and ecosystems resilience should not be underestimated, is facing a more immediate threat. Off - road activity has carved a deep scar in the peat and in the process breaking fences to gain access. Those responsible ride and destroy with impunity. Its incredulous that authorities seem unwilling to act to kerb the damage that is becoming a landscape trademark of the upper Afon Lwyd. 


  1. I'm totally in agreement with you Steve, but with the lack of funds due to austerity I fear there is not a lot that can or will be done to prevent this ever increasing vandalism of the countryside.

  2. Thanks Dawson - we can pin a lot on austerity and I hope those of us who care about environmental issues will think carefully about who we vote for in the coming elections. However I feel that damage to the uplands pre-dates austerity -its been goes on for decades - and its because environmental issues are not a priority for the majority of valley people. So until its higher up the political agenda we will have to sit back and watch the ignorant selfish few get away with destroying the landscape for future generations.

    1. Well done by the way Steve on the prevention of the mining in the canyons. Tina said your submission about the access road through the ancient woodland was one of the main issues that prevented it.

  3. Thanks Dawson - how the developers thought they could get away with ploughing a road through an ancient woodland is beyond me.


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