Snowdonia Appeal - 26 years later
Over the past 26 years donations to the Snowdonia Appeal have facilitated a huge range of conservation projects – from practical maintenance and restoration work to campaigns safeguarding places for ever, for everyone.
A glimpse back
In 1991 we launched the Snowdonia Appeal with the aim of raising funds to protect National Trust land in the Snowdonia National Park. This fund enabled us to buy land at risk from development and undertake much needed conservation work such as access improvements and footpath repairs, tree planting and habitat improvements and vernacular building restoration.
The Appeal was headed up by its then President Sir Anthony Hopkins who led the fundraising for over 10 years. During the first ten years we bought and protected the Craflwyn and Hafod Garregog estates and introduced a footpath repair team for the first time, tackling the backlog of path maintenance at Cwm Idwal and on the Carneddau estate.
In 1998 we launched the Save Snowdon campaign and we raised over £4 million in donations, along with international coverage and support from Sir Anthony Hopkins, Prince Charles, the local and national community. It allowed us to purchase Gelli Iago and Hafod y Llan, a 4000 acre estate extending from the valley floor to the summit of Snowdon, which includes the Watkin Path, one of seven scenic routes up this iconic peak.
Part of the estate is designated as a National Nature Reserve for its rich wildlife and it’s been managed in-house as an exemplar conservation-focussed farm. Innovative projects here include active shepherding that protects and restores sensitive habitats.
Thirteen years later we launched another campaign, this time spearheaded by Welsh Hollywood actor Matthew Rhys who became our Ambassador for the Snowdonia Appeal. In eight months we reached our £1 million target allowing us to safeguard Llyndy Isaf - an upland farm, now the base for our annual farming scholarship in partnership with the Young Farmers Federation. The estate also includes the beautiful Llyn Dinas, which according to legend, is the home of the Welsh Red Dragon. Twenty thousand people helped us achieve this, by donating to the Appeal.
A helping hand
We often work in partnership with organisations such as the Snowdonia National Park Authority, Natural Resources Wales, RSPB, Welsh Government, and other grant providers to maximise the value of our income and donations. This approach has proven very successful over the years and has recently enabled us, in partnership with SNPA, to complete a mile long multi-user aggregate path along the shores of Llyn Dinas at a cost of almost £55,000.
Carefully utilising funds this way also enables us to be actively involved with several landscape scale projects which go beyond our own boundaries, such as the Nantgwynant Rhododendron Partnership, the Upper Conwy Catchment Project and the HLF Carneddau Landscape Partnership.
Future of our footpaths
Today, we care for over 58,000 acres of land in Snowdonia, which includes 11 of the highest 15 peaks in Wales and the south east flank of Snowdon. Hundreds of miles of public footpaths crisscross the landscape as hundreds of thousands of visitors make use of them every year, drawn by the region’s breath-taking views and natural wonders.
But as the numbers of footsteps have increased, the paths have suffered. Donations from the appeal have helped shift thousands of tonnes of stone and supported a dedicated team of Rangers, who in addition to maintaining and creating kilometres of footpaths have braved inclement weather to repair fences, build new bridges and remove invasive species. Some of the paths are also remote - so we’ve had to fly in the stone by helicopter, which can make the repair a costly affair.
Thank you for your help – we cannot do this vital conservation work without you.