Wild land conservation organisation the John Muir Trust (JMT) has launched a £500,000 fundraising appeal to buy a chunk of the Rhinog mountains in southern Snowdonia. They hope a base on the ground will help them expand their activities in Wales.
Carreg y Saeth Isaf is 105 hectares of rugged land in the heart of the Rhinogydd (aka Rhinogau, or Rhinogs if you must), one of the wildest ranges in Wales. The property occupies a key position at the entrance to Cwm Bychan, and includes a beautiful, varied and wildlife-rich landscape of rocks, gritstone crags, heather, bog and native woodland.
The greater part of Carreg y Saeth Isaf lies within a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and enjoys Biogenetic Reserve status. It is within a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), and of course inside the Snowdonia National Park.
According to the Trust, the purchase is a 'rare opportunity to care for a fantastic example of wild land; to demonstrate good practice in long term conservation management and to work with and offer support for local communities and partnerships to benefit ecosystems beyond the artificial boundaries of land ownership'. The JMT want to secure future public access to the site too. It would be their first purchase in Wales, and the Trust plan to use Carreg y Saeth Isaf to bolster their existing Welsh education work and help support a strong local voice for wild land conservation in Wales.
The £500,000 appeal target will go towards the cost of the property (at market value, and including legal fees), plus the first three years of conservation management on the site, events and guided walks, bilingual info on Careg y Saeth Isaf and the work of the JMT, and establishing the new post of Welsh Development Manager to help coordinate and publicise their expanding activity in Wales.
'We are very excited about our first landholding in Wales' say the JMT, 'and about increasing our presence and potential supporter base.'
'We hope that our experience in managing land, in working with policy, in our educational engagement work helping connect people and wild places, will all play a part in strengthening the protection of the landscape and the communities it supports. We recognise that this means working together with many others – landowners, government bodies and community groups. We also recognise that this doesn’t happen overnight, but are hopeful that the appeal will raise enough funds to support the development of this work in the next three years and beyond.'
To find out more or make a donation see the JMT website