UPLAND VOICES: Powys Moorland Partnership

A group highlighting the importance of Powys’ moorland landscapes is using music, storytelling and art to help connect and engage local communities with their surrounding landscape.  To date, hundreds of local school children have learned about the importance of their local landscapes by spending time with moorland keepers, graziers along, storytellers and historians. Powys Moorland Partnership uses a mix of activity including bird recording, arts & music, well being workshops, citizen science, and traditional skills of the uplands to engage local communities.

The group is hoping that their activities and events will help future generations understand the importance of the moorlands around them, helping them be more resilient and mitigating some of the climate change challenges they face such as alleviating flooding, storing carbon in the peat soil and produce a flourishing ecosystem for our birds and wildlife.

The group also say their local moorlands play an important role in the local community’s physical and mental well being. A recent project involved working with storyteller/performer Wayland Boulanger to recreate in-situ storytelling performances and scenes from Welsh legends ‘The Mabinogion’ for school children. The pupils from Hay and Clyro walked/ran across the moor turning the landscape into a live stage performance as storyteller Boulanger headed to the next point on the hill to continue the story.

PMP’s Sustainable Management Scheme facilitator Catherine Hughes explains:

“It is absolutely vital that communities are involved with protecting their local environment. We want to encourage them to understand our stunning landscapes and their future challenges. The inclusion of the Mabinogion storytelling events recently was a great way to get lots of kids involved via a series of school visits to hear the myths and legends of Wales – live on the moorlands…even in the wind and the rain!

“We need to do more to celebrate our moorlands. Our message is to get people outside, to experience our natural resources and to connect people with their local community and their surrounding landscapes. The moorlands belong to us all, after all”

Image: Wayland Boulanger courtesy of Powys Moorland Partnership

Storyteller Wayland Boulanger added:

“The Mabinogion tales are a great way to capture the imagination of children. They paint not only paint a picture of the complexity of our landscapes, but help communities come together, to help us share values and find new levels of respect for others and the landscape around us. We’re all more connected than we think.

“Being out on the moors and immersing the children into these old tales was a magical experience where the weather wasn’t even noticed. In fact, the wind and rain were all part of the experience! There is nothing like experiencing nature out in the open to enliven our spirit and make sense of our surroundings and our place in the world.”

Who is Powys Moorland Partnership?

The Powys Moorland Partnership is an ambitious and exciting 3 year collaborative project to improve large areas of moorland by: promoting moorland biodiversity, managing heather habitats, balancing moorland recreation with natural resources and wildlife and engaging with local communities. This project is funded from the Sustainable Management Scheme under the Welsh Government’s Rural Communities Rural Development Programme.

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