What is Tir Canol?
A community that’s designing and providing positive outcomes for nature and people through our use of the land and sea.
Where is Tir Canol?
We use the rivers Dyfi in the north and Rheidol in the south as our imagined, natural boundaries. As Tir Canol develops further, and people lead on particular areas of interest this will reflect on the geographic area of focus for this project.
We’re facing a huge reduction in biodiversity and major ecological and climate problems at local, national, and international levels. Tir Canol seeks to develop ideas for how we as a community can collaboratively improve our area for people and nature.
What does Tir Canol mean?
Tir Canol = middle ground.
This name has been developed with the community and symbolises two important elements:
1. Our local area – we’re focused in an area of mid Wales, roughly between the Dyfi and the Rheidol rivers.
2. This project is all about meeting in the middle, collaboration and respecting our range of experiences and expertise. We think the idea of holding the middle ground is really important.
It’s easy to have radical ideas for the health of the land and sea, but only communicate these to the people who agree with you. It’s easy to declare landscape scale change, but only work in places with one or two large landowning organisations. It’s also easy to suggest that the fate of the planet rests with small individual lifestyle decisions.
The hard way
To find our middle ground has been to take the hard way. We have turned down international funding that did not fit with our journey, and been willing to abandon the whole project rather than continue with something that didn’t have the broadest support. Our area of Mid Wales has several hundred landowners, each with different holdings, pressures, histories and ideas.
This project could only be allowed to continue if we could work out how to make it meaningfully co-designed, You can see more on co-design here, but in brief this means that we have:
- Held dozens of workshops, meetings, interviews and informal discussions
- Made the project fully bilingual and rooted in Welsh culture
- Created a governance structure that makes it impossible for any one voice or faction to skew the project direction
- Spent a very long time not knowing what the project might be able to become! It’s very hard inviting people to be part of something when you don’t know what it is!