Tuesday, 17 November 2009

New leader for award winning heritage project

Rod Williams, a hillfort and smallholding owner from Denbighshire has been named as the new Chairman of the Heather and Hillforts Landscape Partnership Scheme.

As the owner of Penycloddiau hillfort and a 40 acre smallholding on the edge of the Clwydian Range, Rod Williams has a deep rooted connection to the outstanding heritage of the Clwydian Range and Llantysilio Mountain.

He is currently a Council Member with the Countryside Council for Wales, governor at Llysfasi College, was awarded a fellowship of the Royal Agriculture Society for Services to Agri Business in Wales and is treasurer of Tŷ Croeso Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and the Royal Agri Benevolent Institution (Clwyd). He is also a frequent broadcaster on agricultural issues, especially on S4C and Radio Cymru.

The sudden death of the Project Chairman, Michael Griffith, earlier this year left a great void. Rod Williams shares Michael Griffith’s passion for the landscape and heritage and his belief that heritage conservation can go hand in hand with environmentally friendly farming.

Rod Williams said: “I am highly honoured to take up the reigns of this important project. We are fortunate to have natural and historic heritage of international importance on our doorstep, which I have been so lucky to grow up with. It is important that we keep people farming in these hills, we must support landowners and graziers to manage these special moorland areas appropriately, to keep them in a good condition.

“Sustaining high quality local food production is also vital for the future, especially in light of increasing global demands on resources. I also view increasing people’s awareness, understanding and their enjoyment of their local countryside an important role for the project. These are challenging times, where people need to escape the pressures of everyday life. The breathtaking beauty of the area is also very important as a tourism resource in this economically difficult climate. The challenge for me, the project and its partners, as I see it, is to balance all these different interests, whilst protecting our heritage.”

The Heather and Hillforts Project is a partnership between Denbighshire and Flintshire County Councils, together with agencies such as Cadw, Countryside Council for Wales, Fire Service, Royal Commission of Ancient and Historic Monuments, National Museums and Galleries of Wales, RSPB, CPAT, CPRW, Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Joint Advisory Committee, local community groups and landowners. A significant grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund provides funding for the project, the first landscape partnership scheme supported in Wales.

The announcement of the project’s new Chairman comes at the end of the highly successful Heather and Hillforts walking festival. The event included study days, long distance walking challenges, family activities in addition to education school events. The project has an ambitious programme to deliver over the next year which includes footpath improvements, archaeological events, moorland restoration and more education resources. The three year Heather and Hillforts Project is developing a £2.3 million initiative for upland conservation work and has received a grant of £1.5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. For more information please visit heatherandhillforts.co.uk.

You can now follow them on twitter - Visit www.twitter.com/HeatherHillfort or join their Facebook group for more updates from the project.


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