A gate with rolling hills in the background

Beautiful places as contested spaces

Examining the potential effect of Welsh Governments new landscape management schemes on the economic, environmental and cultural activities and values of Cambrian Mountain Range residents and stakeholders.

Project Team

Dr Donna Udall

Professor Rhys Jones


Coventry University Group - Lead

The Cambrian Mountains Society

Duration of project

1 March 2024 to 30 June 2025


British Academy

Value of project





Project Overview

The Welsh Cambrian Mountain Range (CMR) includes one of the last remote wilderness areas left in southern Britain. Sheep farming has been the economic mainstay since the 11th century. However, in the 1950’s the Forestry Commission bought land to plant forests for timber resulting in the loss of many farms and farming communities.

With the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Farming Scheme and the recently stated intention to plant 86 million trees, the spectre of an accelerated loss of families, farms and Welsh speaking communities’ looms again. Understanding the views of residents in the CMR will be critical for policy development, implementation and for the acceptance and success of incoming schemes.

This project will be unique in attempting to canvass ALL sectors of the community and stakeholders within the CMR for their views on local landscape and its economic, environmental (including biodiversity) and cultural value and their thoughts on planned schemes.

Project objectives

This project aims to answer the question: How do residents and land managers of the Cambrian Mountain Range view past and future landscape management schemes in terms of their environmental, cultural and economic impact on the mountain range and its people?
To meet this aim, this project has three key objectives;

  1. To provide an overview of previous schemes since the 1950’s which the residents of the CRM havefound to be formative of the relationship between people and place and to understand their view on those schemes. The schemes analysed will be dependent on the responses of residents and stakeholders (including, but not limited to, NRW, Welsh Water, National Trust, Forestry Commission, RSPB, Farmers unions).
  2. To understand the possible impact of new Welsh government schemes on the environmental, economicand social determinants of working and living within the CMR according to the perceptions of local residents and stakeholders.
  3. To determine how these views should be seen against national requirements for landscape scaleschemes and the need for the nation to also comply with climate change and other sustainability targets.

Impact statement

Using the results of the research, to work towards informing Welsh governmental policy on future landscape management schemes that crucially incorporates the shared knowledge and history of the residents of the CRM as key stakeholders.


A report will be made available to a range of stakeholders including Welsh Government.

View the page in Welsh

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