Welcome to the Year of Adventure
Wales is where the adventure starts in 2016 - find out more.
Natural Resources Wales is appealing for help after a spate of fires at a protected site near Flint.
Natural Resources Wales Land Management Team have turned back the clock by using traditional forestry skills to thin an area of sensitive woodland in south east Wales.
Natural Resources Wales is asking people for their views on a company’s permit applications in relation to a hydro-electric scheme in Llanberis, Gwynedd.
Information about our organisation, the work we do, our news, consultations, reports and vacancies.
Find out how we assess if a business complies with environmental legislation, details of our charges and if a site has a permit, licence or exemption.
Find places to go and things to do in the outdoors. We’ve got lots of information to help plan your visit.
Our role in planning and development and what you need to do to protect wildlife, landscape and people if you are a planning a development.
Our approach to gathering evidence, what information is available, and where you can access it.
Find out how to get involved with us and the land we manage, and details of our work with community groups and social enterprises.
Information about the Welsh forest industry and our management of the Welsh Government Woodland Estate.
Advice to those working in the farming sector and details of our role in supporting the development of a sustainable agricultural industry Wales.
Find out more information about how we help conserve the wildlife and biodiversity in Wales.
Learn about your flood risk and what to do during a flood, including how to sign up for flood alerts.
Information for waste sites, including details of the landfill allowance scheme and statutory recycling details for local authorities.
We’re not necessarily talking hiking up mountains – but gentle, low-impact exercise that’s easy, free and available to everyone In this blog, Bronia Bendall, NRW’s Health and Wellbeing Policy Advisor, gives you 10 reasons why walking rocks! 1. Walking strengthens your heart Reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by walking regularly. It’s great cardio exercise, lowering levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. The Stroke Association says that a brisk 30-minute walk every day helps to prevent and control the high blood pressure that causes strokes, reducing the risk by up to 27 percent. 2. Walking lowers disease risk A regular walking habit slashes the risk of type 2 diabetes by around 60 percent, and you’re 20 percent less likely to develop cancer of the colon, breast or womb with an active hobby such as walking. 3. Walking helps you lose weight You’ll burn around 75 calories simply by walking at 2mph for 30 minutes. Up your speed to 3mph and it’s 99 calories, while 4mph is 150 calories (equivalent to three Jaffa cakes or a jam doughnut!). Work that short walk into your daily routine and you’ll shed the pounds in no time. 4. Walking prevents dementia Older people who walk six miles or more per week are more likely to avoid brain shrinkage and preserve memory as the years pass. Since dementia affects one in 14 people over 65 and one in six over 80, we reckon that’s a pretty great idea. 5. Walking tones up legs, bums and tums Give definition to calves, quads and hamstrings while lifting your glutes (bum muscles) with a good, regular walk. Add hill walking into the mix and it’s even more effective. Pay attention to your posture and you’ll also tone your abs and waist. 6. Walking boosts vitamin D We all need to get outside more. Many people in the UK are vitamin D deficient, affecting important things like bone health and our immune systems. Walking is the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors while getting your vitamin D fix. 7. Walking gives you energy You’ll get more done with more energy, and a brisk walk is one of the best natural energisers around. It boosts circulation and increases oxygen supply to every cell in your body, helping you to feel more alert and alive. Try walking on your lunch break to achieve more in the afternoon. 8. Walking makes you happy It’s true – exercise boosts your mood. Studies show that a brisk walk is just as effective as antidepressants in mild to moderate cases of depression, releasing feel-good endorphins while reducing stress and anxiety. So for positive mental health, walking’s an absolute must. 9. Walking relieves work stress Walking gives you time to think. Getting out of the stressful environment, breathing the air, and feeling your body move is natural stress-relief. A walk in a park at lunchtime rather than walking the pavements will decrease anxiety and increase working memory performance. 10. Walkers Live Longer A Study of 8000 people found that walking just two miles a day cut the risk of death almost in half. The walkers' risk of death was especially lower from cancer. Other studies have had similar findings - if you keep walking, you improve your chances of a longer and healthier life. Walking for 30 to 60 minutes each day is one of the best things you can do for your body, mind, and spirit, so try and fit walking in to your daily routine and leisure time – enjoy your local parks and green spaces, go for a walk at lunchtime, walk short journeys of up to 2-3 miles instead of jumping in the car and visit some of the our most beautiful countryside. Most of the woodlands and National Nature Reserves managed by NRW are open for walkers. There are waymarked routes through these special places as well as facilities such as visitor centres and information panels to help people make the most of their visit. The free ‘Places to Go’ App and our web pages at http://naturalresources.wales/out-and-about/places-to-go/?lang=en you can download the App here too!) shows you where you can go and what you can do in Wales’s public forests and National Nature Reserves. And if you fancy a longer hike why not check out the Wales Coast Path or try out one of Wales’s National Trails.
This week we went live with our new online pages for flood warning. In this blog Martin Linforth, Senior Adviser for Flood Warning and Informing at Natural Resources Wales, explains some of the background to this work. After joining Environment Agency Wales almost 20 years ago, I spent several years helping people at risk of flooding understand who issued flood warnings and where they could get further support and information. Since Natural Resources Wales was formed, and became responsible for the flood warning service in Wales in 2013, my job has been to lead the work to re-brand our flood warning service. As we send people flood warning information via text, phone, email and online – there was a lot to do to make it clear that we are the people to come to for flood warning information in Wales. Most people will hear about flood risk through the media, so it’s really important that people know who is issuing flood warnings - and more importantly - know how to get more information. As this work involved a good deal of work on computer systems and websites – some that we didn’t directly own – it couldn’t happen overnight. But, with the support of our local Flood Incident Management teams and some former colleagues at the Environment Agency (EA), we were able to complete the re-branding work by the summer of 2014. Except for one really important component.... We’d done the work to update the messages that went directly to those registered for the flood warning service and developed a map that showed flood warnings in place on our website. But our customers still had to visit the Environment Agency’s webpages to get all the information they needed, such as detailed information about warning areas, and to view the three day flooding outlook. This might not seem a bad thing, except for the confusion it caused, particularly when warnings were issued. Hence my frustration last year when reading a national newspaper over someone’s shoulder on the train reporting that the Environment Agency had issued more flood warnings in Wales. Despite our best efforts, many of our customers, through the media were not getting clear information about who to contact for flood information. In the background, our ICT teams were already working on the systems needed to develop our website for flood information. And so at last, I have now been able to work with a range of colleagues to complete the missing piece of the puzzle. The result - our new web-pages that bring together all the information our customers, partners and the media need to fully understand the risk of flooding in Wales. The new web pages are a blend of things our customers told us they liked about the old site, combined with some new approaches to make it easier to find the information they need. In just a few clicks, you can understand the risk of flooding over the next 3 days (soon to be 5!) see what warnings are in force right across Wales view greater details for warnings in place get the latest predictions of flooding whenever Flood Alerts and Warnings are in force for our communities You can also check current river levels from our gauges across Wales on our website. Over the coming months, the EA’s flood warning information for England will be moving to a new home on Gov.UK, and it will not show flood warnings in Wales and Scotland. Now that we have more information about flood warnings in Wales available on our site, I hope it will be clearer for everyone, including the media to now find information about flood warnings in Wales. In the meantime there’s still plenty more to do. We'll soon be busy again working on other ways of helping our customers such as developing our smartphone app, increased availability of Welsh language services and easier ways to access our data. When you read this, it will hopefully be on a warm and sunny day. If so, it would be great if you take a few moments to look around the new pages, bookmark a few relevant pages and give us feedback on how the site could be made even better. If however, it is more like the weather we are used to in Wales, I hope you will find the web pages to be helpful and easy to use so that you are informed and able to protect your property from flooding.
Your local woodland, nature reserve, beach and park are probably starting to show their spring colours and are great places to go exploring. Investigating the wildlife in your area or further afield, is a great way to engage young and old in the natural world, so get everyone involved in counting and identifying how many different species of plants, birds, bugs and other animals they can see on their adventure. Older children might like to design a tally chart to take with them to capture their “finds” or you could take photos along the way to see who can find the most. If you have a smart phone there are lots of apps you can download to make on the spot ID easier. Bluebell hunt Wild flowers such as our beautiful native bluebells are starting to show. You might notice that they are a slightly more intense colour than the Spanish variation that you might see in gardens. They have bendy stems with fewer delicate bell like flowers. These natives are protected so make sure the little ones don’t pick them! Did you know that Romans used to use the crushed seed heads that form after the flowers are finished as an antiseptic type of soap? Leaf or flower bashing? A great way to get your family into learning some identification skills is to get them involved in a bit of natural art! When out on your adventure look for fallen leaves or flowers on the floor. Does anyone know what plants/trees they come from? Take a photo so you can look them up at home. Try not to pick any leaves or flowers for this activity unless they are from your garden. You can have your art attack while out and about if you prep beforehand or you can bring your collect home and try this activity there. You need a piece of white cloth from an old sheet or pillow case cut into a small square for each person Place your flowers/leaves on one side of the flattened out cloth and then fold it in half to cover them. Using a small hammer, flat rock or a heavy stick, have the children pound the item into the cloth. Ideally, you will need a flat surface to do this on such as a path or tree stump. Open up the cloth and you should find that the leaves/flowers have stained the material. Try using different shades and colours to create a unique impressionist style painting. You can save the picture or when appropriate wash the cloth to use again and again. Now that all the chocolate eggs have been gobbled up, why not think about eggs from another angle? Nest Building A fun activity to try is nest building. If you watch the birds closely at this time of year you can often spot them flying back and forth carrying small twigs etc. to keep their nests in good condition for their families. Talk about the birds you can see and think about how they survive in that environment. Where do they sleep, lay eggs and what might they eat? Then use lose, natural materials that you find on the floor to make nests. If the children want to get messy let them use mud to stick the nests together. Can you find anything to make them soft for the eggs? You could even build a giant nest if you are in an area with a lot of deadwood available. Seashore Safari You can look for eggs of another kind if you go on a Seashore Safari. This time of year sees ocean creatures spawning so fish eggs such as mermaids purses (shark egg cases) wash up on the strand line. By finding mermaid's purses and sending off any information to the Shark Trust, you can help shark conservation. A tip to help you on your egg case hunt is to really slow down so you can get you “eye in” and you might be surprised at what you can find….. For family friendly, conservation linked, Citizen Science project or surveys such as bug counts, that you could do on your day of adventure try these websites: http://www.opalexplorenature.org/ http://scistarter.com/finder
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