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Environmental resilience for water in rural Wales

Our aim is to co-develop a soil management toolkit supporting farmer self-assessment of sustainable farming actions.

Welsh farmers play a crucial role in sustaining ecosystem services of clean water, air and habitat provision, as well as food production. In addition to pressures to produce food cheaply, farmers are at serious risk due to the negative impacts of climate change, which is already increasing summer storm intensity and sediment runoff.

To help farmers cope with these changes, Cardiff University is partnering with NFU Cymru to increase engagement with sustainable farming actions in rural farming communities through targeted workshops and communication events. Workshops will co-produce a soil management toolkit with practical, bilingual instructions that farmers can use to apply sustainable land management concepts on their own farms.

Partnership working enables the bilingual soil management information and toolkit instructions to be developed throughout the project following participant feedback, and be made available online. Outreach with Young Farmers’ Club members, led by designer Ms. Penny Turnbull, will support project themes of sustainable farming and resilience. Project themes will be additionally communicated through an art piece created by Ms. Turnbull and hosted in the NFU Cymru permanent collection and digitally online.

Activities and methods

  • Co-develop a soil management toolkit supporting farmer self-assessment, including Welsh-language materials.
  • Online workshop introducing sustainable farming methods developed through NFU Cymru’s The Water Standard led by Nuffield Farming Trust Scholar Ms. Lorna Davis.
  • On-farm walkover visit and custom assessment of sustainable farming opportunities (COVID-safe protocols in place).
  • Knowledge exchange workshop sharing impact of self-assessment, sustainable farming actions, peer feedback for revision of toolkit materials.

Benefits of becoming involved

  • Raised awareness of the benefits of nutrient management and water quality.
  • Improved surface water, groundwater and soil quality within a catchment.
  • Co-production of a farmer led toolbox to managing nutrients and sediments on land.
  • Guidance on impacts affecting water quality and quantity.
  • Networking and knowledge sharing with other local farmers.

Creative partner collaboration with Mrs Penelope Turnbull

Penelope Turnbull is a highly motivated and creative designer with over 20 years design experience, 15 years of these spent employed by McNeece and Space Design Naval Architects as head of design developing and implementing the interiors of 14 cruise ships. In addition, she has created a photographic installation with Stefan Reimschuessel and exhibited at Moreton Street Gallery.

She has also undertaken set designs for the British Embassy Players, window dressing for Harrods and visual displays for Sotheby’s. Her qualifications include degrees in Politics and Philosophy (Reading University), Interior Design (KLC, London) Photography (Central St Martins) and Textile Design (Central St Martins). Her awards include the Rose Award (York Academy of Art), Comarit Design Award and Chantiers De L’Atlantique contribution to the maritime industry for design.


We are accepting registration for participants based in target catchments:

  • Llangefni
  • Angelsey
  • Milford Haven
  • Pembrokeshire
  • Usk
  • Abergavenny
  • Monmouthshire

We are looking for participants who are willing to attend two online workshop, each lasting 1.5 hours over the weeks of 19-23 July and late September/early October) and including a 1:1 farm visit

Please contact Lorna Davis for further information at

Related partners


This project is funded by The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)


Water matters!

During heavy rain, water flowing over land can carry soil with nutrients and chemicals to the watercourse.

Sustainable farming actions work to;

  • Slow water
  • Keep soil, nutrients on farm
  • Reduce soil and chemicals entering watercourse
  1. Yard runoff
    • Block flow path with available material
    • Water slowed upstream of blockage
    • Water soaks into ground, leaving soil on yard
    • Dirty soil can be disposed
  2. Buffer strips
    • Slows water entering buffer strip
    • River corridor managed by mowing/grazing
    • Vary width where needed to capture high flows
  3. Sediment traps
    • Water slowed in small ponded area
    • Water soaks into ground, leaving soil in trap
    • Dig out as needed
  4. Sediment barriers
  • Straw bales or coppice bundles
  • Water slowed upstream of barrier
  • Soil, nutrients captured upstream and within barrier
  • Reduced soil, nutrients entering watercourse

The image file for an infographic based on this content may be obtained from Dr Elizabeth Follett

The project team

Principal investigator


Dr Elizabeth Follett

Royal Academy of Engineering-Sêr Cymru Research Fellow