Discovering hidden monuments under overgrown vegetation

The Carneddau has exceptionally important and well-preserved archaeological features that tell us about people’s lives in the past and how the landscape developed. In some areas the remains are threatened by overgrown scrub, especially gorse and bracken. Ancient burial and ceremonial sites and large expanses of prehistoric fields and roundhouse settlements as well as other sites are being covered from view and damaged by the plants’ roots.
Rediscovering hidden history
Many ancient monuments such as prehistoric burial cairns and the roundhouse settlements have not been seen in decades.
Improving biodiversity
The open grazing pastures at the uplands of the Carneddau are a vital feeding habitat for the Chough, a rare bird species and iconic to the area.
Reducing wildfire risk
We are reducing the risk of wildfires by creating inconspicuous firebreak gaps when we cut the gorse.
What are we doing?

Dense patches of gorse and bracken have developed on many of the Carneddau’s important ancient monuments and on wildlife sites. With the help of volunteers and contractors, we are clearing this invasive vegetation to reveal and protect the monuments in addition to increasing biodiversity. This is done by opening up patches of grassland to offer a mosaic of habitats to sustain a greater number and variety of wildlife, such as the chough.

We are working to control encroaching vegetation, much of which is removed by hand. A large part of the clearance work is carefully carried out by volunteers to avoid using machines that might damage the archaeology.

The data collected from our lidar project will also guide vegetation clearance by providing more detailed information on the extent of gorse and scrub and by helping us to map ancient sites.

After the clearance has taken place, insects in the soil will be monitored to understand the impacts of this work on their abundance and distribution.

Why is this important?

Gorse reduces the available foraging grounds for the chough, and its roots break apart archaeological remains. Gorse encourages burrowing animals, whose tunnels can damage ancient, buried features. This project helps to protect archaeological sites and creates mosaic habitats on the ffridd and open mountain, as well as engaging people in conservation and heritage work in their local area. 

Being semi-natural habitats, they require a level of management to maintain these important cultural features and to support a rich biodiversity for many birds, mammals, reptiles, and invertebrates.

Benefits to wildlife

As well as uncovering archaeological monuments, opening up pockets of grassland also benefits bird species such as the Chough which need short grazed areas to forage for insects to eat.

Explore our Chough Project
How can you get involved?

Check out our Events page for volunteering opportunities.

Check out our Training page for training opportunities.

Check out our Events page for volunteering opportunities.

Check out our Training page for training opportunities.