What is natural heritage?

Natural heritage refers to all the natural features in a landscape. This includes the area’s geology, water, soil, plants, animals and all the different types of habitats and ecosystems they live in.

The Carneddau is home to an abundance of wildlife and its rich biodiversity can be attributed to the area’s variety of geological features, from the highest rugged summits to sheltered valleys, and everything in between.

The habitats that exist here range from rolling hills of heath, grass, and peatlands, to native woodlands, lakes, rivers, soaring cliffs and the exposed summits of the impressive Carneddau giants including Carnedd Llywelyn and Carnedd Dafydd. It is because of these special habitats that much of the Carneddau is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), and includes four National Nature Reserves (NNR).

The natural environment is facing many pressures today from climate change and adaptations in land management to invasive species and human pressures. The Carneddau Landscape Partnership is working collaboratively to address these challenges, to create a healthy and thriving environment for people and nature.

Craig yr Ysfa from Pen yr Helgi Du

Read about the habitats below to discover the wildlife that exists in the Carneddau

Red-Billed Chough in a meadow - Carneddau
Heath and Grasslands

Heath and grass cover the greatest areas of the Carneddau and have been shaped by humans up to 6,000 years ago! These habitats support a wealth of wildlife and require land management practices to sustain them.

There are many birds that dwell on the Carneddau which includes Skylarks and the migratory visitors the Ring Ouzels, that travel from North Africa.

Find out more about the Red-billed Chough which calls these habitats home.

Red-billed Chough Project
flower rich meadow
Ffriddoedd and Meadows

Ffridd is the cultural fringe habitat between the uplands and lowlands where meadows can also be found, supporting rare birds in the area such as the Twite.

Find out more about our project on Meadow Restoration.

Meadow Restoration Project
peatland restoration Llwytmor

Peatland ecosystems play a vital role in tackling climate change due to their ability to store huge amounts of carbon.

Healthy peatlands capture CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Because the plants that grow on peatlands do not fully decompose under wet conditions, they do not release carbon which would otherwise be returned to the atmosphere as CO2. 

In peatlands, year-round water-logged conditions slow plant decomposition to such an extent that dead plants accumulate to form peat. This stores the carbon the plants absorbed from the atmosphere within peat soils, providing a net-cooling effect and helping to mitigate the climate change crisis. 

Find out more about what we are doing in our Peatland Restoration project.

Peatland Restoration Project
Cliff faces in the Carneddau with a lakeside in the foreground
Lakes, Rivers and Streams

The Carneddau has over 25 lakes and reservoirs, which provide habitats for many fish and rare aquatic plants, as well as being crucial water sources.

Read about our Riparian Planting project that aims to help improve water quality and river health and also to reduce land erosion and flood risk.

Riparian Planting Project
Rowan Tree seed collecting in Nant Ffrancon
Hedgerows, Trees and Woodlands

Some of the biggest range of biodiversity can be found in woodlands. The Carneddau has a mosaic of ancient native woodlands and veteran trees.

Read about our projects on low-density, scattered, sustainable tree planting and hedgerow restoration by following the link below. 


Hedgerows, Trees & Woodlands Projects
Cliff faces at Cwm Eigiau
Cliffs and Rare Plants

Glaciation left the Carneddau with an impressive array of sheer cliffs, home to many rare arctic-alpine plants, hidden out of reach and inaccessible to most animals and humans. Often delicate and beautiful, these special plants are a remnant of the Ice Age in the Carneddau. These plants include Mossy Saxifrage, Beautiful Hawkweed and the iconic Yr Wyddfa Lily (Snowdon Lily, Gagea serotina). 

Read about the work that some of our partners are doing in protecting threatened species.

Natur am Byth Partnership
Montane Heath habitat at Carnedd Dafydd
Montane Heath

Montane Heath is found on the highest peaks of the Carneddau and includes plants similar to those found in the Arctic. That’s because it is a relic of the Carneddau’s ancient glacial past. Despite the harsh environment, a surprising diversity of species can be found here.

Read about our project on Montane Heath Restoration. 

Montane Heath Project
A red billed Chough in flight
Statement of Significance

Learn more about the habitats and species of the Carneddau by downloading the document below.

Statement of Significance