Welsh policy training: Policy, People and Pine Martens

The Welsh Policy Group (WPG) and Vincent Wildlife Trust (VWT) are hosting a joint in-person policy training on 26 April in Devil’s Bridge. In the morning we will cover the basics of Welsh environmental policy, followed by the policies that cover species conservation and translocations, and the importance of stakeholder engagement. In the afternoon, experts from the VWT will lead an outdoor pine marten tracking and spoor identification exercise.

The BES Welsh Policy Group (WPG) and Vincent Wildlife Trust (VWT) are thrilled to announce that they will be hosting a joint policy training event. This training will provide you with an overview of how environmental policy and legislation are made in Wales, how evidence feeds into the process and how ecologists and other scientists can contribute. There will be a focus on species conservation and translocation policy, and community and stakeholder engagement, using the VWT’s Pine Marten Recovery Project as an example. There will also be the amazing opportunity to learn pine marten tracking and spoor identification, on an outdoor activity led by experts from the VWT.

This event has now sold out!

Time and place

26th April 10am – 3:30pm

The Hafod Hotel, Devils’ Bridge, SY32 3JL

Please note that this is in-person only, unfortunately we do not have the facilities to host an online element for this particular event.

There is no train service to Devil’s Bridge except for the Vale of Rheidol steam train. It is not possible to get this train to the training on the day, as the earliest train arrives in to the village at 11:30am. It would be possible to catch the return train to Aberystwyth after the training, which leaves Devil’s Bridge at 4:45pm.

The easiest way is to travel by car. If you do not have access to one then we are trying to organise a minibus or similar to transport delegates from Aberystwyth and back for the day, and will update this page with details if this is something we can offer.

Who is this event for?

This training will be delivered by experts from the WPG and VWT, and is aimed at ecologists, scientists or anyone who is interested in the natural world and policy and legislation aims to protect species of conservation concern. We will not assume prior knowledge of how policy and legislation in Wales, and will start from the basics and build up. Therefore, this event will probably suit students or early career researchers who have not had much prior engagement with the policymaking.


9:30 – 10 am – Arrival with tea and coffee provided

10am – 11:10am – Training Talks

  1. Introduction to Welsh environmental policy and how ecologists can get involved
  2. People and pine martens: conservation and communities – Despite the challenges, there is a growing appetite for species reintroductions to reverse biodiversity losses and restore natural ecological communities. However, it is crucial that any reintroduction is well-considered in terms of what is best for the long-term conservation of the species of concern, but also the potential impact on other species and wider public interests.  The VWTs Pine Marten Recovery Project provides an example of the challenges of species restoration and how community and stakeholder engagement prior to and throughout each stage of the process is essential. Lessons learned throughout this project may also be instructive in facilitating the natural colonisation, and where appropriate, the reintroduction of other, even more contentious species.

11:20am – 12:30pm – Activity

  1. Translocation policy – This will cover what current legislation and policies that cover species conservation and translocations in  Wales including the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and international guidance. We will discuss if this framework is up to the task in the modern world and will complete an activity to design new species protection policy that is more flexible in the face of climate change, range shifts and reintroductions. You will be asked to think through how your new framework will work for species protected by different Acts.
  2. Different points of view – Groups will swap policy frameworks and each group will take on the role of an organisation that has a particular view of how translocations should be done. You will then assess the policy framework of another group from that point of view.

12:30pm – 1:30pm – Lunch

Please bring your own food for lunch.

1:30pm – 3:30pm – Pine marten tracking (field activity)

We will get outside, hopefully into the sun, and experts from the VWT will lead an outdoor pine marten tracking and spoor identification exercise. This is a great opportunity to learn more about this elusive species and what it takes to monitor them and the success of their reintroductions. We recommend sturdy boots for this. Welsh April weather is variable so you may need warm clothes, waterproofs and (if we are being optimistic) sun protection. Please check the weather forecast beforehand.

This field activity will also be advertised in the local community around Devil’s Bridge, so people may join us after lunch. If you would like to join us after lunch just for the field activity, there is no charge and no need to register.


Non-member – £15

Member/Non-member student – £10

Student member – £5


We are unable to offer real-time translation for this event, but if you would like to be grouped with other Welsh speakers during the activity, then please indicate that on your registration or email nick@britishecologicalsociety.org

This event has now sold out!

If you have any questions then please get in touch with nick@britishecologicalsociety.org