Bryn Arw is a prominent hill in the Black Mountains 2.5 miles north of Abergavenny in the Brecon Beacons National Park. The new woodland is on common land managed by the Bryn Arw Commoners Association.
It lies on the steep eastern slope which has become infested with bracken which greatly reduces its value for sheep farming and wildlife and prevents the regeneration of native trees. The project commences with the removal of bracken by sequential cutting and crushing with a specially designed machine. This is being largely done by Keith Powell, vice-chair of the Association whose inspiration and energy has brought the project to fruition.
The woodland extends to 64 hectares on the map but the planted area is 73.4 hectares after correction for the gradient of the slope. 117,440 trees will be established between December 2020 and April 2021. All trees have been grown from local provenance seed.
The species mix has been designed to reflect the remnant ancient semi-natural woods in the area. It will provide a vital habitat linkage between 3 remnant woodland on the lower slopes and the Coed-y- Cerrig National nature Reserve to the north. Extensive consultation was carried out involving the local community and environmental organisations including the South Wales Wildlife Trust, Buglife and the Reptile Society.
Improved public access has been designed into the project in discussion with the Ramblers Association and the local access forum.