SNOWDONIA NATIONAL PARK, WALES
The Ark/Y Arch Eryi, Snowdonia is a charity established by Charles Mador. The charity seeks to address and reverse environmental landscape degradation with an ecological strategy to dramatically enhance biodiversity.
The ethos and values of the charity are representative of those of Mador Architects and there is a mutually informing dialogue between the work of the charity and the practice.
The Ark project aims to work with local landowners to create an ‘ark’ of flora and fauna in a beautiful and wild area of the Snowdonia National Park in Wales on the west coast of Britain.
The vision is to create a wonderful area of linked habitats in the upland Rhinogs - a gorgeous landscape of hills and valleys totalling some 200 square kilometres. Although beautiful, this area, originally temperate rainforest, has a very much depleted ecological diversity brought about through centuries of deforestation and over grazing. The aim is to support local landowners in carrying out ecological improvements and projects to make this into one of Wales’ and Europe's jewels of ecology.
Through the generosity of the Tabatznik family the charity has been gifted, a 50 acre farm to commence work. It is a perfect place to start - a fabulous stretch of land bordered along the long east boundary with the Afon [river in Welsh] Eden. Totally typical of the area on 50 acres there are only 3 trees and the ground is a monoculture of species poor grassland - it is ground zero.
The charity is very fortunate to have the expertise of Dr. Rod Gritten, for many years the head of ecology within the national park, leading 5 ecological pilot projects in 2021.
Read Dr. Gritten's ecological surveys here
ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION AND MONITORING
Ceasing grazing for natural vegetation cover to take hold and biodiversity to increase passively.
Quadrat monitoring of structure and species will take place and will inform the strategy for future moves for controlled introduction of particular grazing species and other flora and fauna to strive to further increase biodiversity of the site.
Planting of 1800 birch trees (native local species) in the south east area of the site to act as pioneer species in regeneration of the soil and providing space and shelter for incoming birds and small mammals. The pioneer species will eventually allow the natural regeneration of the native deciduous woodland mix - the sessile oak forest. Planting will be carried out by local volunteers
PASTURE SITE FOR PIONEER PLANT
DOWNY BIRCH WOOD
Management of the land to create a species rich meadow on a central area of the site.
PASTURE SITE FOR CONVERSION TO MEADOW
Creating ten 'scrapes' or 'ponds' along the low lying east boundary to create habitat for lapwings and curlews. These small depressions will fill and drain of water as the seasons pass, creating new wetland habitat. This is to encourage natural flourishing of grey willow along the river edge as is already present on part of the site.
GREY WILLOW ALONG THE RIVER
RIVER SITE FOR WETLAND SCAPE
Fundraising is underway for the re-roofing and restoration of 2 derelict traditional barns on the site to provide dry working space for volunteers and to initiate a bat and owl habitat project within the roofs and crevices of the buildings.
THE EXISTING BARNS
Please visit the website to learn more, support The Ark's work, and for information on how you can get involved: www.thearksnowdonia.org