By Debbie James

Farmers in the Black Mountains have been awarded a £1 million grant to help improve the viability of traditional farming practices including bracken management.

The Black Mountains Land Use Partnership (BMLUP), which covers an expanse of upland common across Breconshire, Monmouthshire and Herefordshire, will use the Welsh Government funding to ensure the continued improvement, restoration and sustainable management of natural resources.

This includes heather regeneration, improvement of grazing land and protection of peat resources.

There will also be improvements to livestock access to aid stock management and to provide a better visitor experience to the area.

The BMLUP also intends to develop a rural skills programme, engage with schools and create employment opportunities such as two partnership ranger posts.

The funding has been awarded through the Welsh government’s Rural Communities Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.

National Sheep Association chief executive and BMLUP chairman Phil Stocker welcomed the funding. He said it was the culmination of a huge amount of commitment to a process that took more than a year.

“The Black Mountains is a living and working landscape that is dependent on the viability of hundreds of private businesses working within, and being reliant on, an environment and landscape that is sustainable, attractive and delivers multiple economic, environmental and social outcomes.

“This grant will not only make a huge difference to the future of its rural communities, but also to the people who visit the area.”

The partnership consists of key stakeholders including graziers from the Black Mountains Graziers Association, private landowners and public land owning bodies such as the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Natural Resources Wales, Natural England and Welsh Water.