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How will the project benefit wildlife in the local area?

A large amount of the area is farmland. We believe that by working with farmers to help them to protect and restore nature alongside their farming business we have the best chance of benefiting wildlife.  By working together at a landscape scale we have the greatest chance of helping nature.

The project could benefit populations of native wildlife such as pine martens, horseshoe bats and lobsters, with the restoration and expansion of globally important habitats such as montane scrub, blanket bog, grasslands, coastal saltmarsh and living reefs.

Where is the project based?

The project is focused on the area between the rivers Dyfi and Rheidol and over to Llanidloes in the East, with the Pumlumon massif as it’s highest point.

Who was involved in designing this project?

Throughout the two year development phase (June 2020 – May 2022), hundreds of people took part in the project’s design. During this time a Liaison Group made up of local organisations and individuals was formed to steer this process, discuss and decide on key themes and directions.

You can read more about who and how people were involved in designing the project here.

Who are the project funders?

Currently the project is seeking funding, with RSPB Cymru and Woodland Trust funding core staff roles.

Until May 2022 the Endangered Landscapes Programme funded what was then known as Summit to Sea.

Who are the project partners now?

Our partnership currently includes the following organisations,

  • RSPB Cymru
  • Tir Coed
  • FWAG Cymru
  • Aber Food Surplus
  • Ecodyfi
  • Cambrian Mountains Initiative
  • Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau SAC
  • Woodland Trust
  • Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust

If you’re interested in becoming a project partner please contact us.

What is co-design?

Co-design is about designing with rather than for people. It is a social movement, a set of mindsets and values, and a set of tools to use for designing. Co-design goes a step further than just involving people in a project, such as consultation or community engagement. Wales has some great co-design examples which you can learn more about on the Co-Production Wales Network website.

Why did this project use co-design?

Using a co-design approach, mindset and tools was a new experience for the vast majority of people involved in this project. There is increasing interest in giving more power back to citizens when solving complex social, environmental and economic challenges, but it’s not yet a very common way of working in the UK. It is a bit more common in some sectors (such as the built environment, health and social care or youth work) but it is not the norm for landscape scale conservation projects.

We wanted to embrace co-design to bring people to the heart of the project, building strong relationships, sharing power and exploring together solutions to the challenges nature faces.

You can read more about the reflections and lessons learnt through using co-design in the research we commissioned into this here.

Are Rewildling Britain involved in this project?

No, Rewildling Britain haven’t been involved in this project since they left the Summit to Sea partnership in October 2019.  You can read more about the lessons learnt during the original ‘Summit to Sea’ project here. 

What do you mean by ‘host’ partner’?

Tir Canol is a partnership made up of a number of organisations at the moment. It is not an organisation in its own right. In the future it might become its own organisation or might merge into an existing locally based organisation.

Until this is developed further any staff or funding are ‘hosted’ by one of the partnership organisations. At the moment RSPB Cymru are hosting the core project staff, whilst a number of other partners are hosting funding applications on behalf of the partnership. This involves supporting in preparing applications, hosting the financial elements and providing the organisational structures needed for funding bids.

What is the Dyfi Biosphere?

A Biosphere Reserve is an area where local people work with biodiversity and its sustainable use.

Biosphere reserves are ‘areas of land and marine ecosystems or a combination, which are internationally recognised within the framework of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme. They are designated by UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation).

​They are nominated by national governments and must fulfill three aims:

  • Conservation protecting, wildlife, habitats and the environment.
  • Development – encouraging a sustainable economy and community
  • Education – supporting research, monitoring, and building global networks to share and learn.

The Dyfi Biosphere works to be recognised and respected internationally, nationally and locally for the diversity of its natural beauty, heritage and wildlife, and for its people’s efforts to make a positive contribution to a more sustainable world.

The Tir Canol project works closely with the Dyfi Biosphere partnership as a large majority of the land and sea of Tir Canol fall within the Dyfi Biosphere Reserve area.

Why is the project known as Tir Canol and what does Tir Canol mean?

This name 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. Tir Canol = middle land.


  1. Tir Canol = middle ground. This project is all about meeting in the middle, about collaboration and respecting our range of experiences and expertise, we think the idea of the Tir Canol, and holding the middle ground is really important and reflects the importance of this to the project.


This name has been developed with those who took part in the co-design process in 2020-2022. We think it reflects the ethos of our vision and Blueprint.

How will the project respond to Welsh Government plans to change farm payments after Brexit?

Whilst we develop the project we’ll be keeping an eye on the Welsh Government’s land management co-design process to ensure that this project is complementary to the final post-Brexit schemes. The project will not be replacing this scheme, but we’ll be looking to make sure that our work is aligned and responsive to this scheme.