Who’s who

Sue Evans

Sue Evans chairs the PMP. Farmer’s daughter from Anglesey who qualified as a chartered surveyor & mediator. Working as a senior advisor with the Natural Resources Management team at Welsh Government, designing the new approach to agri-environment schemes, Sue is now director for the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust in Wales following 12 years heading up policy for CLA Wales. She is passionate that scientific research must be applied to deliver practical answers for farmers and our countryside

David Thomas

Moorland manager on PMP. Farmer’s son from Rhayader in the Elan Valley, whose family date back to 1600. He shot his first grouse when he was just 12 years old, joined the RSPB and was inspired by the Observer books on birds and grasses that made David notice the upland birds and the different management they needed. When shooting stopped in the early ‘90s in Wales, David saw that the lack of investment in the hills also impacted on a whole array of upland wildlife species.

Maureen Lloyd

Maureen Lloyd is a farmer & secretary of the Llandeilo Graban and Glascwm graziers association.
Farmers daughters from the Brecon Beacons got Maureen fully absorbed into the annual cycle of hill farming and commons. Worked as a farm secretary and raised her family on a hill farm in Radnorshire, she appreciates the varied relationships in the hills where a lot of interests gather. Welding the species and their environment is what makes these places special and where sheep have called home for thousands of years, along with the cattle and ponies who have created today’s landscape. Proud to be involved with the management of the hill, which provides food, wildlife, and an amazing landscape used by many for sporting interests, health and recreation, as well as a stability for the local community. Maureen edits the Rhosgoch gossip magazine and runs the Local Interest Group in Painscastle.

Nick Myhill

Nick Myhill is the bird conservationist. Although Nick studied French Literature at Oxford University – there were no ecology degrees about then – he has always been crazy about wildlife. And when he returned home to Knighton at 11 years of age after spending time in both Singapore and Germany where his parents both taught in the forces, Nick believes that everything he knows comes from the farmers of Radnorshire. Having worked for the forestry commission for over 10 years, Nick set up his own conservation consultancy in 1985 and has immersed himself in how to balance conservation with farming. Nick’s two daughters, one a linguist the other an avid bird watcher have certainly followed in his footsteps.

Will Duff Gordon

Will Duff Gordon is a moor owner and co-creator of the Partnership having also steered a pan Wales set of nine upland owners who came together in 2015 to restore their moors under the Nature Fund. Will’s family have owned heathery moors near Gladestry for a long time and he grew up with summer picnics and walked up grouse shooting. Will’s father engendered a huge passion for Welsh grouse in all his four sons which meant buying the adjacent Ireland Moor in 2015 was a natural step for the family. Will’s day job is running his own sports technology company having also had a successful career in financial services in London.

Wayne Richards

Wayne Richards is a wildlife warden. He has worked on the hill for over 25 years and after a time with the Wye & Usk Foundation fencing rivers, coppicing, willow planting, he is passionate about all things countryside. He has restored & maintained vast areas of heather and worked with the farmers to help protect livestock and ground nesting birds. Born – one of a triplet – he grew up near Builth on his grandfather’s farm, until his parents moved to farm near Beacon, but Wayne was always drawn back to where he grew up and caught the bus back every Friday to be with them at weekends until finally he returned there for good after leaving school at 16.

Catherine Hughes

Catherine Hughes is the project facilitator. She studied agriculture in Aberystwyth and grew up on a dairy farmer in Worcestershire. After working for ADAS she joined the Milk Marketing Board, and then took up agriculture journalism and worked for a number of agricultural companies in communications and PR. Moved to Hay in 2003 with her horses, she worked with CLA Wales where she joined Sue Evans on piloting the predecessor to the Sustainable Management Scheme called the Nature Fund. Catherine set up Hay community choir in 2012 and works with a number of community singing groups locally.

Arwyn Davies

Arwyn Davies is one of the moorland owners in the PMP
Escaping to the surrounding moorlands – beating and picking up – was a perfect contrast for Arwyn who worked as a GP in Brecon for just over 38 years. Having studied gastroenterology in London, he soon decided that Brecon – which then had an A&E department – gave the best combination of working as a family doctor and in the hospital. Along with his friends mainly from West Wales where he originates from, Arwyn adored the outdoor life and spent hours/days on the hills, so when Ffwddog Ridge in the Llanthony Valley came up for sale in 1999 he and his pals bought the hill as a syndicate. A real family gathering – Arwyn has 3 children – which when the shooting more or less stopped, was still a place that they would get together every summer and picnic in the heather and enjoy the spectacular views across to Somerset. Sharing many amazing stories and being great therapy, but now it’s time to be patient and wait for the grouse to come back. In the meantime the conservation project continues.

Peter Hood

Peter Hood has the shooting tenancy for Beacon Hill.
It was a grouse flying over Maesgwyn in Radnorship that helped Peter’s parents decide to buy the farm in 1948. Born in Kent, then to the Cotswolds where his mother – hand milked 25 cows twice a day among other jobs on the farm – while his father was at war, Peter was 12 when he started life on the moors. Shooting tenants of the 12,000 acre Crown Estate covering Beacon Hill, Moelfre & Llanbister since 1952, the family enjoyed the rich heather landscapes, home to lots of grouse where 8 days of shooting averaging 8-10 brace a day for family and friends was enjoyed. The only wild bird to live here 12 months of the year dependant on heather for food and protection supporting so many waders, Peter believes that bracken has smothered a lot of heather and the conifer plantations in the Radnor forest has dried the land and housed too many predators. But he thinks the opportunity of re-wetting the moors will boost biodiversity and hold water back to stop flooding downstream.

Shaun Rhys Smith

Shaun Rhys Smith is a wildlife warden.
Shaun is born and bred in the Llanthony Valley where his parents ran the Half Moon pub near the Abbey. Shaun went to school in Abergavenny & then onto Hereford college to study mechanics and is very familiar with the landscape and horses are a close friend to him and his family as it was their main way of getting around the mountains. He won the rodeo at Llanthony show a couple of years ago and competed for a few years before reaching the top prize. His father Tony was a gamekeeper on the mountain – Ffawddog Ridge – which Shaun joined as part of the scheme. He was mentored by the previous warden and enjoys managing the heather to restore it back to health and see the recovery of some ground nesting birds.  Back in the ‘70s when there were more shoots in the valley there was a more collective approach to managing the moorlands and there was more wildlife too, says Shaun.

Keep in touch, get involved.

We will be putting on various events over the next 12 months. If you would like to get involved, have some ideas please contact Catherine on urmyc.sdnalroomsywop@tcatnoc

Powys Moorland Partnership