Issue 57 – Winter 2015-16

A box of matches and sheep’s teeth: conservation management on the North Wales Moors


Farming incentives, particularly payments tied to the number of sheep which farmers kept in the uplands, resulted in damage to wildlife through overgrazing of moorland habitats in north Wales. That was 30 years ago. Could some areas now be under-grazed? DAVID ELIAS considers what has been achieved and the management challenges which remain, and concludes that there is much still to learn.

The Welsh Uplands – death or resurrection?

The reality confounds all the good environmental intentions which have been promised for the uplands. Agricultural policy reform, agri-environment schemes and the like have not released the pressure which has been driving nature from the hills, as a recent survey illustrates. MICK GREEN argues that a more radical approach is now needed.

The Physicians of Myddfai’s medicinal plants


In Natur Cymru 46 BETHAN WYN JONES wrote about some the historic, medicinal uses of plants. Here she takes a further look at the recommendations and recipes of the 14th century Physicians of Myddfai.


This article is written in Welsh. You can read a full translation here


The Black Mountains - not such a black future


In 2014 the Welsh Government made available a £6 million Nature Fund to tackle declining biodiversity and deliver benefits to communities, with river catchments and the uplands as two of its priorities. BRADLEY WELCH reports on how some of this money has been used to halt erosion in the Black Mountains, to benefit both people and wildlife.

One farm’s flora: 30 years on

NEIL LUDLOW grew up on a flower-rich smallholding in Carmarthenshire. In a previous article he has described how, thanks to an inspiring teacher, he learnt and recorded the names of the wildflowers in each field on the farm. Many years later he has returned to see how the flora has fared, and to face the dislocation between memory and reality which time has wrought.

Something like tundra … unique Welsh highland habitat

JOHN HAROLD considers the special nature of the highest habitats in Wales, their fragile arctic-alpine connections, and their relevance to current debates in conservation.

The pearl-bordered fritillary in Wales

The pearl-bordered fritillary is a rare, declining butterfly. Although they remain on a knife-edge in Wales, they are responding well to conservation action, as TAMMY STRETTON and RUSSEL HOBSON explain.

The Llysdinam Legacy

For 40 years Cardiff University’s Llysdinam Field Centre was the hot spot of university research and teaching in very rural mid-Wales. For most of that period Dr FRED SLATER was the Centre’s Director as amphibians, birds, otters, crayfish, new crops and the general environment came forward for study. Its legacy lives on in the expertise gained by the generations of students who came through its doors.


Our regular page from the charity Buglife

Exposed Riverine Sediments and the invertebrates found there.

Sarah Henshall

Discoveries in science

Interesting insights from the National Museum Wales

‘Stuffed, Pickled & Pinned’ – an exhibition of the wonders of nature in Welsh museums.

Sarah Daly

From the garden

It’s all happening at the National Botanic Garden of Wales

Pollen analysis throws light on the creation of the Middleton Hall gardens two centuries ago.

Rob Thomas

Book reviews

Inglorious: conflict in the uplands by Mark Avery
Coastlines – the story of our shore by Patrick Barkham
A William Condry Reader by Jim Perrin
A Natural History of Lighthouses by John A. Love
The Moth Snowstorm – Nature and Joy by Michael McCarthy

Life lines

Following the work of Natural Resources Wales

Natura 2000 – the natural wealth of Wales

Kathryn Hewitt

Mammals round-up

Mammal news and sightings in Wales

Frances Cattanach

Marine Matters

The proposed Tidal Lagoon in Swansea Bay

Ivor Rees

Nature at large

Welsh seabird colonies – how are they faring?

Gareth Cunningham


Our regular page from the charity Plantlife

Unearthing the secrets of the Celtic rainforest

Dave Lamacraft

PONT - grazing is amazing

An update on the grazing animals project

Hilary Kehoe