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A sparkling future for Afon Eden

The Snowdonia National Park Authority has secured a better future for the Afon Eden river, thanks to a generous grant from the Welsh Government and the enthusiasm of local landowners.

Afon Eden flows from Llyn Trawsfynydd down to Ganllwyd through marshy and woodland landscape alongside the A470. Although it seems to be a deserted area, due to its ecological importance, a large proportion of it has been designated as a special area of conservation.

One of the most important features of the area is the presence of freshwater pearl mussels (Margaritadera margaritifera), which are extremely important in the river due to their filtering features which improves the quality of the water and the river’s ecosystem. But the number of these distinctive mussels has declined over the years, which indicates that the current management of the catchment is unsustainable. The area is also notable for a rare water plant, the floating water-plantain (Luronium natans), as well as salmon, otters and the rich habitats of the blanket bogs.

As well as safeguarding these rare features, there are other benefits to the Afon Eden Project:

  • Old traditional boundaries, such as walls and hedgerows will be improved, providing agricultural benefits for the farmer together with improving the natural environment of the catchment area;
  • Opportunities will also arise for various work in the community including training opportunities for local farmers such as processing firewood, training the young people of the area, and over the lifespan of the project, there will be an opportunity for paid work placements for up to three students within the Authority’s Conservation, Woodlands and Agriculture’s Service;
  • For walkers, access will be improved which includes small bridges being built as well as one highway bridge, footpaths will be improved and further research will be made to the possibility of having a cycle route from Coed y Brenin to Trawsfynydd.

In addition to this, a number of small conifers will be restored and returned to native woodlands, ensuring a more sustainable future for the Afon Eden, which is the main purpose of the project.

Thanking the Welsh Government for its contribution, Project Manager, Gethin Davies said,

“Through its Sustainable Management Plan, we are extremely grateful to the Welsh Government for its generosity, contributing over £ 830k to a scheme that will help to secure a prosperous future for the Eden catchment area. Working with the local community in the Trawsfynydd area, we can strengthen an important ecological system, we can improve the agricultural conditions of the area and provide educational opportunities of all kinds to local residents. Ensuring cleaner rivers benefits everyone, and the Authority is extremely proud to be leading such an important plan.”

The scheme will run until September 2020.