Natural Resource Management Plan for the South-East Wales Uplands

Highly Commended in the Strategic Landscape Planning category of the Landscape Awards 2016

Client: Torfaen County Borough Council

Cumulus Consultants, in partnership with TACP, was commissioned by Torfaen County Borough Council to produce a ten year, fully costed Natural Resource Management Plan for the South-East Wales Uplands. This is the first element of the Eastern Valleys Uplands Project funded by the Welsh Government’s Nature Fund.


During the ten month project, we collated and analysed a wide range of data, liaised with commoners and other stakeholders, and developed a range of proposals to enhance biodiversity, improve water and conserve the commons whilst ensuring commoning is a viable agricultural practice.

The report presents an assessment of the area’s natural resources and ecosystem services, provides a series of maps showing potential opportunities, and develops eight management proposals and a number of costed action plans.

Findings and recommendations

Key findings arising from the Gloucestershire Level 2 report included:

  • The South-East Wales uplands covers 380 sq km including parts of five local authority areas and sixteen large commons.
  • The area is rich in biodiversity and cultural and historic heritage.
  • Key ecosystem services are food production, climate regulation, water regulation, recreation and provision of habitats for wildlife.
  • The main farming issues are financial viability and ‘landscape crime’ such as illegal off-roading, boundary vandalism, fly tipping and arson.

Key recommendations include:

  • Upland management proposals covering: retention of more water in the uplands; incentives for cattle grazing; heathland management and restoration; maintenance of commoning; use for renewable energy; landscape crime; recreation and tourism; and community engagement
  • 23 action plans to achieve the management proposals above, such as restoring wetlands and enhancing recreation.

Key benefits:

  • A holistic, ten year, fully costed Natural Resources Management Plan for the uplands of South-East Wales.
  • Use of an ecosystems approach to inform opportunity mapping and the development of management proposals.
  • Strong engagement with commoners to ensure practical and economically viable options and plans.
  • Clear benefits for the local economy and local communities.


The full report and a non-technical summary can be accessed here :

This is the first management plan for the uplands to focus on an ecosystems services approach (and) forms the prototype for other Natural Resource Management Plans in Wales … It offers the landscape profession an effective auditable process for implementing the ecosystems services model at a landscape scale

The Landscape Institute