2024 Award Winner’s Spotlight: Best Practice Award: Large-scale Practical Nature Conservation Project

RSPB Cymru/Severn Trent Water

Project Name: Hafren Dyfrdwy

This award was sponsored by:


The Lake Vyrnwy estate, owned by Hafren Dyfrdwy, encompasses vast upland, farmland, and forest areas surrounding a Victorian-era reservoir. With a vision for sustainable water and land management, Hafren Dyfrdwy collaborated with the RSPB to restore degraded blanket bog ecosystems. Their peatland restoration programme aligns with global efforts to reduce carbon emissions and promote ecosystem resilience.

The partnership aims to restore blanket bog to a state where it sustains high water tables, sequesters carbon, and supports breeding populations of upland species. While hydrological changes and bird responses may take decades to manifest fully, early signs indicate a wetter landscape and increased biodiversity.

The restoration efforts focus on over 1500 hectares of degraded blanket bog across six upland blocks. Restoration plans have been developed and implemented, with almost 1000 hectares already restored through drain blocking and erosion control measures. The ultimate goal is to achieve naturally functioning ecosystems characterised by Sphagnum-dominated blanket bog, supporting diverse plant and bird species.

Beyond carbon emissions reduction and habitat restoration, the project prioritises ecosystem health and resilience against climate change and other stochastic events. Restoration efforts are guided by principles outlined in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, ensuring long-term sustainability and alignment with Sustainable Development Goals.

The partnership engages in advocacy and awareness initiatives to highlight the importance of peatland restoration in addressing climate and nature emergencies. Through partnerships, policy influence, and educational programs, they aim to mobilise support from major land managers, government officials, farmers, and local communities. Initiatives like the ‘bog in a box’, community updates, and volunteer work parties further involve and educate local stakeholders.

The Lake Vyrnwy peatland restoration project represents a holistic approach to environmental conservation, blending scientific expertise, community engagement, and policy advocacy to restore and sustain vital ecosystems for future generations.