Yr Wyddfa/Snowdon - United Kingdom
Yr Wyddfa/Snowdon is an upland ECN site incorporating the summit of Yr Wyddfa or Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales, 19km south-east of Bangor in North Wales. It is co-located with the Nant Teyrn freshwater site. The altitude ranges from 298-1085m and includes three additional summits over 800m. The bedrock is a mixture of Ordovician acidic and basic volcanic rocks, with localised igneous intrusions. Evidence of glaciation is widespread, with prominent corrie moraines. There are 5 lakes within the site, three of which form a 'staircase'. The soils are varied and include brown podzolic soil, gleys, organic peat soils and humic rankers. The dominant vegetation is acidic grassland with Festuca ovina (sheep's fescue) and Agrostis sp (bent grass) in the drier areas and Nardus stricta (mat grass) in the wetter areas. The site is part of the Yr Wyddfa/Snowdon National Nature Reserve, managed by the Natural Resources Wales under agreement with the owner. The land is unenclosed and grazed by sheep and a small herd of feral goats.
General Characteristics, Purpose, History
The site is part of the Yr Wyddfa/Snowdon National Nature Reserve, managed by the Natural Resources Wales under agreement with the owner. The land is unenclosed and grazed by sheep and a small herd of feral goats. It is a popular area for tourists (hill walkers, climbers,etc.) and is the location of some upland research.
Snowdon is an iconic site in Wales. It is the highest mountain (1085m) south of the Scottish Highlands. Current uses of Snowdonia’s upland ecosystems are only a part of a long history of human use of this environment. Post-glacial conditions enabled a forest cover to develop over much of Snowdonia, and by the Mesolithic (about 8,000 years BP) humans started to utilise the local resources provided by woodland, taking deer, aurochs and wild boar for food and timber for fuel and building materials. The exploitation of these resources then evolved into forms of shifting agriculture during the Neolithic, together with the early exploitation of minerals. Agriculture slowly expanded and by the 12th century systematic woodland clearance became more advanced with the shift from woodland exploitation to farming. By the 18th century mixed farming had been replaced by sheep-dominated husbandry, together with an expansion of mining for minerals such as arsenic, copper, lead and slate. Mining peaked during the industrial revolution and had ceased by the end of the First World War. The history of human use of the area has resulted in a complex tapestry of vegetation overlying a postglacial landscape valued for its cultural, farming and environmental resources. These environmental resources include many rare and important species and habitats. In conservation terms, it has been designated as a National Nature Reserve and forms a part of the Eryri Site of Special Scientific Interest and the Eryri Special Area of Conservation designated under the EU Habitats Directive. The site is particularly important for its assemblage of relict arctic-alpine species and montane habitats, many of which occur here near the southern limit of their range in the UK. It also has possibly the largest number of visitors of any mountain in the UK.
Affiliation and Network Specific Information