Our own consultations
We consult on a range of subjects. View and comment on our consultations or browse our responses to consultations by others.
We consult on a range of subjects. View and comment on our consultations or browse our responses to consultations by others.
Consultation on proposed revisions to Internal Drainage District Boundaries within Wales.
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is carrying out a formal review of its policy on the use of firearms on land we own and/or manage.
With over 70 National Nature Reserves in Wales, we are all only a few miles away from a special place to discover nature. Our colleagues working to look after the National Nature Reserves (NNR) have got together to write a blog, bringing you the latest news and goings on from a different site each month. This month's blog is from Duncan Ludlow, Senior Reserves Manager for South East Wales... As a Senior Reserves Manager I am privileged to manage a number of special sites in Wales. One of these sites is Penhow Woodlands National Nature Reserve, near Newport. This is a very different habitat from the sand dunes of Merthyr Mawr Warren mentioned in my previous blog. Penhow Woodlands is made up of three woodlands - Coed Wen, West Lone and The Knoll. These are ancient semi-natural woodlands. This means that the trees and shrubs are native to the area and that the woodland has developed naturally and not been planted. To be considered as an ancient semi-natural woodland it must have been present since 1600AD but may have existed since woodland first colonised the British Isles after the last glaciation. The woodlands have a mixture of ash, oak, lime, cherry, elm trees and they are surrounded by and understory of hazel trees. This is a fantastic place to visit at any time of the year. However, it is in spring that the woods are at their finest with the woodland floor covered in a colourful array of wild flowers. This diverse woodland is a result of the long history of coppicing Coppicing is when small areas of the wood (or coupes as we call them) are cut to create light open areas within the woodland. Many light demanding woodland plants at Penhow have benefitted from this regular coppicing. A notable rarity is upright spurge, (Euphorbia stricta). This can only be found in Gwent and Gloucestershire in Great Britain, with Coed Wen having the largest population recorded for Gwent. Unfortunately coppicing has been in decline following the Second World War, and this can effect species that struggle to survive darker closed canopy woodlands. If coppicing were abandoned for a significant period of time at Penhow Woods they would lose their characteristic woodland structure and associated plants. One of my tasks at Penhow has been to re-establish the traditional coppicing at Coed Wen The coppicing is carried out between October and March to minimise disturbance to wildlife, like nesting birds and mammals. It can look very destructive when first carried out, however the trees recover quickly often reaching over 6 feet in the first year of regrowth. Rather than damaging the trees, this management can increase the lifespan of trees with some ash tree stools surviving for hundreds of years. The coppicing also allows new trees to grow within the cut area - replenishing the tree resource of the woodland. Not all the trees in a coupe are cut during coppicing. Some are left to grow into mature trees (we call them standards). The present oak standards within Coed Wen are known to have originated from 1800 to 1850. Using the coppiced wood In the past the cut wood arising from the coppicing would have been used to make a wide variety of products e.g. traditional fencing, thatching material, brooms, pea sticks, clothes pegs, tent pegs and numerous other items. Every bit of cut wood was used with small twigs being gathered together into faggotts for burning. Today, where possible the wood arising from the coppice work has been used for projects on the reserve. Wood chips have been used to surface the paths and split timber has been used to create steps. Timber has also been supplied to local craftsmen for making love spoons and for the production of charcoal. Although I am already noticing the benefits arising from the reintroduction of coppice management, this is a long term project. It will be the wildlife and future managers of the wood that will benefit most from having a diverse, well stocked, and well managed woodland. A coppice woodland can be an infinitely renewable resource for both humans and wildlife, if managed properly with forethought. In summary, I can express it no better than the following quote – “A coppiced woodland is the most beautiful place to work; a place of exquisite spring flowers, gentle bird song, and cheerful warmth all winter, reflected in the functional beauty of its products” Raymond Tabor, author of Traditional Woodland Crafts. Visiting Penhow Woodlands Coed Wen can be visited all year round and is located just south of Penhow village and the A48, there is limited parking off Bowdens Lane. There is no public access to West Lone and The Knoll. There is a nature trail through Coed Wen. Paths can be muddy and slippery and therefore good footwear is recommended.
During this time, we have worked hard to maintain and improve website standards for accessibility. Not only do we have a legal requirement to meet Web Accessibility Initiative level 2 (AA) standards, but we also want our website to be user-friendly and accessible - for everyone. We recently had news that we’re in the top spot in the SiteMorse Index UK Central Government for accessibility. In this blog, Phil Rookyard, our Digital Designer talks about the importance of making websites accessible for all. Why do we make our website accessible to everyone? With the current drive to move more public services online, we have a duty to make sure that everyone can access our online services. There are many disabilities that may prevent users accessing information online. Anyone who is blind, has poor eyesight, or even colour blindness can have real problems with text and images on screen. Those that suffer from mobility disabilities, including using their hands or suffer from loss of fine motor skills may have problems using a mouse or find it very difficult to navigate key information. And, although websites are primarily a visual media, people with hearing impairments or those that suffer from deafness should be able to receive valuable information online in audio formats. Making websites more accessible Some people use specialist software or equipment to read out web pages or allow them to navigate the web by talking to their computer. When publishing content onto the web, there’s a lot of things that we need to check to make sure that our website works properly for people using such software. This includes making sure images and links have the correct descriptions, and that making sure all links work correctly. It’s also important that content is written in Plain English. Everyone wants to be able to read and understand the content as easily as possible, but it’s especially important that it’s also understandable for people with learning disabilities or find it difficult to focus on large amounts of information. A little help from our friends To ensure our website remains accessible for both disabled and non-disabled users, we needed a little support, so we sought the help of a company called Sitemorse. Sitemorse automatically checks for errors on the site such as broken links and spelling mistakes, amongst a host of other problems many websites face. Sitemorse scans our website every week and we can then review the list and fix any issues that were highlighted. Every quarter they compile an ‘index’ and every quarter we are placed somewhere in this index. The quarter one results are announced… In the second quarter of 2013, we ranked 78th out of 206 Central Government organisations in the Sitemorse index. In January 2016, we ranked 185th and in November 2016, we ranked 10th out of 206 organisations. The results on the first quarter of 2017 are now out, and for the first time we have reached the top position in the Central Government organisations index. The full report, which also includes most improved and biggest fallers in our category, is now online. How did we reach number 1? Our score has improved by regular monitoring and focussing on fixing broken links - many of these in PDFs uploaded to the site. We used the data from the Sitemorse scans each week to fix pre-existing problems and make sure broken links are fixed, images have descriptions, and every word is correctly spelt. The scans also check to ensure our site remains available 99.9% of the time. It looks at our brand and looks for ways we can improve our content to make life easier for our users. Our new look website We’re currently working on a new design for our website, so we hope this will make things even better for our customers – it’ll go live in April 2017. The site will feature new visual designs, a revised structure for the content and improvements to the layout of the homepage and content pages. We hope the new homepage will be easier to use, so customers can quickly find the site’s search and main menu and easily get to the content they use most in our new ‘Most Popular’ section. There will still be lots of ongoing work, such as improving the content and making our online services as easy as possible to use. We are committed to keep improving our site for everyone. If you experience problems accessing the website please contact the firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you ever been on Google Maps and picked up the yellow ‘Pegman’ to explore an area in Street View, only for the imagery to stop at the end of the road? Well the area of Wales on Google Maps has just got a little bit bigger. Natural Resources Wales teamed-up with Google to allow us to take Street View off the streets and into our nature reserves, protected sites and forestry. The aim of the project was to collect imagery from a selection of our sites to create a virtual tour, allowing anyone to explore a site before they visit in real life. The imagery also creates a snapshot in time of our sites from many different angles, allowing change to be monitored and its use as an educational tool. Our hope is that by reducing some of the uncertainty of exploring the outdoors, we can encourage more people to visit, enjoy and learn about, the wonderful Welsh outdoors. Trekker-ing around Wales With the sites chosen and a network of keen staff volunteers ready to go, it was time to get out and start walking in some of Wales’ most spectacular countryside with the Street View Trekker. Choosing from so many fantastic potential places was difficult. We only had one summer and could only trek when it wasn’t raining - which, being Wales limited our total trekking time. But we still managed to capture most of our key special sites and places of interest. You can see the full list of sites here. From Newborough Warren to the Wye Valley woodlands we trekked over forty different paths across Wales, totalling over 200km. Trekking causes quite a stir - walking around with 23 kilos of batteries, cameras (15 of them) and GPS units in a backpack is certainly a way of attracting attention to yourself! This was one of the great things about the project, most people who saw this strange looking device couldn’t resist coming to ask about it. It was great for trekkers to hear first-hand how much people loved visiting these sites. I also got a great opportunity to also explore sites I’d never been to before, and to meet the people who manage them. It was hard work, but definitely worth the effort! There are some places we wouldn’t have been able to trek without the help of our partners including Wildlife trust of South and West Wales, Swansea University, Merthyr Mawr Estate, the RSPB and the City and County of Swansea. Ben Sampson of Swansea University manages Crymlyn Burrows says, “The sand dunes and saltmarsh of Crymlyn Burrows is the last remaining pocket of natural habitat around the coast of Swansea Bay and it is very exciting that people can explore the area with this technology. Hopefully it will whet people’s appetite to get out and see (and hear and smell) it in the flesh too.” Have a look for yourself! The images are published today on Google Maps, with a selection of our walks available in this gallery. NRW will also be embedding these views into our website in the coming months so you can plan your trip before you visit, more information can be found here.
The Marloes Peninsula is a must-visit for wildlife watching, heritage hunting, coastal walks and outdoor adventure.
The landscape here is incredibly diverse; craggy cliffs and coves make way for sandy bays and neighbouring islands, whilst further inland, coastal heath and thriving wetlands sit alongside agriculture.
There’s plenty to see, do and explore, so get the binoculars, bucket and spade, and walking boots ready and make the most of Marloes.DISCOVER MORE OF OUR VIDEO BLOGS
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