Judges of the Campaign for National Parks’ Park Protector Award have chosen the Woollenline project as the winner of its prestigious award and accompanying £2,000 bursary. The project at Pen Trumau in the Black Mountains in Brecon Beacons National Park stood out amongst an excellent shortlist because of its highly innovative approach, local impact and participation.
Llangynidr-based artist Pip Woolf runs the artistic project which uses lines of wool to protect peat from erosion, and joins local communities together in the process. For 34 years no one had come up with a solution to repair damage caused by fire that had left seven hectares of peat exposed to erosion.
Pip Woolf stepped in, working with schools, the local community, local farmers and graziers, she laid down 2,700 metres of felted wool in nine lines to protect the peat. The felt provides a cover for the peat, stabilising it and allowing plants to seed and grow. Nets stuffed with wool called ‘wool sausages’ are placed in erosion channels. These absorb water and release it slowly reducing the erosive power of water. As the wool breaks down it provides nutrients to the plants. Using low grade wool and pony transport Woollenlines provides a low energy solution.
Pip is overjoyed to have won the award, and has ambitious plans for how she will expand the project using the bursary. She said: “Hundreds of people helped create this project first a single line in 2010 and by 2012 eight more woolly lines. I personally feel delighted at the recognition by winning the Park Protector award that will undoubtedly deepen the commitment to grow continuing lines of connection across the uplands of the Brecon Beacons National Park.”
The Woollenline was nominated by the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, whose Sustainable Development Fund supported the project. Evan Morgan, Chairman of Brecon Beacons National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund, responded to the award: “We are delighted that Pip has won this award. Our staff and Members have been really pleased to work with Pip on this innovative project which bought lots of different groups together. We very much look forward to working with Pip in the future to take forward these ideas and restore more of our precious peatland.”
Every year the Park Protector Award recognises and supports a project or individual showing excellence in restoring, conserving or protecting our most treasured landscapes. This year the Campaign for National Parks had a fantastic response with a range of 18 projects from nearly all of the National Parks in England and Wales. Four other projects were particularly commended; Derbyshire Wildlife Trust weekend volunteers, ‘Hay Time’ meadows conservation in the Yorkshire Dales, the Traditional Estates Craft Apprenticeship project on the North York Moors, and the John Muir Award in Cumbria.
The Campaign for National Parks is grateful for the support of members of the Park Protector Club, award sponsors HF Holidays, and the members of the judging panel who make the awards possible.
For more information about the Wollenline project, visit Pip Woolf’s blog at www.woollenline.wordpress.com/. Find out more about becoming a Park Protector at www.cnp.org.uk/content/be-park-protector. Read more about all of the nominations at www.cnp.org.uk/sites/default/files/Nomination%20summaries.pdf