FROM donkeys in Snowdonia to the salmon of the River Usk and everything in between, the Welsh Government has confirmed 29 projects across Wales that will benefit from the Nature Networks Fund.

Almost £100,000 has been allocated to support the conservation of amphibian and reptile species, including the great crested newt, in Deeside and Buckley.

The Nature Networks Fund was confirmed in March this year with the Welsh Government promising to invest in the ‘condition and connectivity’ of the protected site network, supported by the ‘active involvement of local communities’.


Great crested newt.

Great crested newt.


The Minister will confirm £7m of Welsh Government support for these projects in the Senedd later today where she is expected to say: “Tackling the climate and nature emergencies is at the heart of everything we do - we must protect our environment for future generations to enjoy.

“Recognising the importance of harnessing the power of local communities, this funding will support citizen science, school engagement programmes and volunteer training to build networks of people engaged with these sites, which are cornerstones of our nature recovery work.

“We need a ‘Team Wales’ approach if we are to achieve our ambitious plans to restore nature. We want everyone in Wales to see nature - because if people engage with nature, they value nature.”

The sites supported provide a vital sanctuary and high level of protection to nearly 70 species, and more than 50 types of habitats which face threats worldwide.

They also contribute significantly to the Welsh economy through tourism recreation, farming, fishing and forestry. And they provide vital life-support services for all of us – including purifying drinking water, and storing carbon.

National Heritage Memorial Fund has taken responsibility for administering the Nature Networks Fund, Andrew White – Director of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales said:

“From restoring wetlands, to creating rich habitat for wildlife to flourish, it is vital that we preserve and rebuild our natural heritage.

“The Nature Networks scheme, in partnership with the Welsh Government, will allow projects to carry out direct conservation which is essential in protecting our biodiversity, and will also increase public awareness of how and why we need to protect our future.”


Shark. Image: Jake Davies.

Shark. Image: Jake Davies.


Project SIARC (Sharks Inspiring Action and Research with Communities), operating in Carmarthen Bay and Tremadog Bay is just one of the projects to benefit from this announcement.

The collaborative project led by ZSL (Zoological Society of London) and Natural Resources Wales received £390,000, alongside funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund and On the EDGE Conservation, to carry out vital conservation research on Wales’ marine environment with a strong focus on sharks, skates and rays.

North Wales projects:

  • Creating new(t) Connections, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation - £99,694

Deliver direct benefits to improve condition and resilience at five nature reserves within or adjacent to the Deeside & Buckley SAC, improving connectivity and resilience of the site and of the metapopulations of the rare and threatened great crested newt for which it was designated.

Engage the local community in activities that contribute directly to the long term future of the wildlife on the SAC and increasing resilience to climate change and making nature accessible to people.

  • Restoring the Moelyci SSSI land, Snowdonia Donkeys CIO - £63,300

This project will aim to improve the condition of over 85 acres of SSSI land on Ffarm Moelyci and enable it to be better managed in the future and enjoyed by more people. Strengthen links with researchers and wildlife specialist and organisations, establish more volunteering opportunities and provide training.

  • Restoring resilience to Welsh woodlands, North Wales Wildlife Trust - £500,000

The project will improve the ecological condition and resilience of woodland protected sites located across North Wales, including eligible North Wales Wildlife Trust-owned SSSIs and the Alyn Valley Woods Primary aims.

  • Upper and middle Dee invasive non-native species management, North Wales Wildlife Trust - £500,000

This project will manage invasive plants on the banks of the Dee between Corwen and Newbridge, including tributaries leading into the SAC and associated land. Will also carry out community engagement including awarding community grants for training and equipment to enable local groups to undertake the long term management of INNS.

  • North Wales Cotoneaster Control, North Wales Wildlife Trust - £500,000

The project will survey and monitor cotoneaster on 19 SSSIs and one local nature reserve. It will also carry out community engagement including training community groups and volunteers in cotoneaster monitoring and control for longer term site management.