SUAS project hosts open day and demonstration event

The Sustainable Uplands Agri-environment Scheme (SUAS) pilot project is hosting an open day and demonstration event in west Wicklow today, Tuesday, August 20.

The project – which is working with upland farmers in the Wicklow and Dublin uplands – aims to support upland farmers while protecting this significant heritage by remunerating them for activities which improve and protect their farmed habitats.

Organised to coincide with National Heritage Week, the event commenced in the Hollywood Community Centre at 11:00am where Declan Byrne, project manager of the SUAS Project and a number of other speakers, gave an overview of the project and the impact it is having.

Launched in 2018 by Wicklow Uplands Council, the five-year SUAS pilot project is one of 23 European Innovation Partnership for Agriculture Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI) projects established in Ireland.

To celebrate the diversity and importance of these projects, an exhibition from the National Rural Network on all Ireland’s EIP-AGRI projects was also on display in the community centre for all to enjoy.

The assembled group then traveled by bus to the nearby Granamore Commonage, which is one of the locations included in the first round of the SUAS Project.

The lands, which are now within the boundaries of the Wicklow Mountains National Park, were formerly part of Lord Waterford Estate in Co. Wicklow and contain a number of interesting features such as old turf cutting banks, a small hill of blanket bog, a Mass rock, the Douglas River and other water systems.

The commonage area is being managed by 10 shareholders participating in the SUAS Project through a formal commonage group structure.

Those attending the event were guided to four stops on the site to observe demonstrations related to the land management activities being undertaken as part of the SUAS Project.

Presentations and discussions will include topics such as commonage management, roadway and culvert repair, gully planting, streamside vegetation, and vegetation management practices such as controlled burning and cutting.

A number of speakers contributed to the visit including representatives from National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS), the University College Dublin (UCD) School of Agriculture and Food Science and a number of the local farmers.

Speaking following the announcement of the event, Declan Byrne project manager of the SUAS Project said: “This event is a wonderful opportunity for farmers, upland communities and everyone interested in the project, to observe first-hand some of the new approaches to hill farming and land management that SUAS promotes.”

Further information on the event is available here.