A £3.4 million project to return swathes of Mid Wales to nature is under new control after the acrimonious departure of the group which previously ran it.

RSPB Cymru has now officially taken over the Summit to the Sea project, and pledged to use the role to give Mid Wales residents the chance to "co-design" how people and wildlife can coexist in the Cambrian Mountains and Cardigan Bay.

It had previously been run by Sussex-based Rewilding Britain, before that organisation stepped down amid criticism from some local councillors in October.

At the time, the group was accused of "taking a flippin' liberty" for its plans, which included the use of some land that it did not actually own or control, and Powys Council voted to stop supporting the project as long as Rewilding Britain was in charge.

Now RSPB Cymru is at the helm, and said it intends to engage with the local community to ensure that the project benefits people as well as nature.

RSPB Cymru's head of land Neil Lambert said: “During these incredibly challenging times, we are delighted that the Summit to Sea project is entering a new planning phase which will allow communities to be fully involved in co-designing a new project.

“We’ll be working closely with both land and sea stakeholders. It is essential that any project delivers for local people as well as wildlife.”

Opposition to Rewilding Britain saw the the establishment of a community campaign group called Copa which is chaired by the Powys County Councillor for Glantwymyn, Elwyn Vaughan.

Mr Vaughan said: “We are very happy that the concerns expressed over the past 18 month have been listened to.

“With the departure of Rewilding Britain along with the complete restructuring of the project, we are now looking to create a future built on fresh foundations that reflect the community and landscape of this area.

“We really look forward to seeing what develops and it’s contribution towards ensuring the existence of sustainable communities in the area.”

Rory Francis of the Woodland Trust added: “We are determined to learn lessons from the past and ensure that we can make the most of this opportunity for the future.”

In January, drop in sessions to discuss how to get the project back on track were held. At a meeting in October 2019, Powys County Councillors voted to stop supporting the project while Rewilding Britain were in charge.

There are currently seven partners involved including Woodland Trust, WWF, RSPB Cymru, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Marine Conservation Society, Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust and Pen Llyn a’r Sarnau Special Area of Conservation.