National Trust: saving Snowdonia again?

Posted by Elfyn Jones on 31/03/2011
A million pound landscape? Llyndy Isaf, Nant Gwynant

The National Trust has launched another public appeal to buy land in Snowdonia, this time asking the public for £1 million to purchase Llyndy Isaf, a 600 acre farm in Nant Gwynant near Beddgelert.

The farm includes the northern slopes of Moel Dyniewyd and part of Llyn Dinas. It is being sold by the current owners Mr Ken Owen and his wife, who have decided to retire from farming and do not have any children who wish to follow in their footsteps. The farm has been managed in a low- intensive manner by the Owens for over 35 yrs, and as a result contains some important conservation habitats and some unspoilt landscape. It’s the owners wish that the land is maintained in the same manner for future generations and for that reason they have decided to give the first option of purchase to the National Trust.

The National Trust have a track record of acquiring land in this area, with the very successful appeal in 1998, supported by the Hollywood actor Sir Anthony Hopkins, to purchase the neighbouring farm Hafod y Llan in the much publicised and so-called “Save Snowdon” campaign. This latest appeal is supported by fellow Welsh actor Matthew Rhys, who also currently resides in Los Angeles.
 
The National Trust in their publicity material, claim that unless they raise the funds to purchase this farm, that there is a threat of another purchaser using the lake for power boating, of more intensive farming that would destroy the high quality pastoral habitat created and maintained by the current farming regime and that the invasive Rhododendron bushes (which covers much of the neighbouring land) would not be controlled. With most of the land designated as open access, and the enclosed land crossed by a public footpath, the loss of public access is not thought to be a threat, and the NT are mainly concerned with the protection of the current visual amenity and low-impact farming systems at this holding.
 
While this opportunity will undoubtedly secure this holding and protect the landscape and habitat of this particular farm, the question has to be asked, that with a greater percentage of the agricultural subsidies in the UK now going towards paying farmers for environmental and other public benefits, and the protection supposedly offered by National Park status, why does a conservation charity need to raise £1 million from a public appeal to protect this land?
 
For more information on the National Trust Snowdonia Appeal (including how to contribute) and on the work that the National Trust carries out in Snowdonia visit their website.


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