Ponds & Woodlands
A Local Nature Reserve &
Community Green Flag Award Winner
VILLAGE IS STILL FIGHTING – TO GIVE GREEN OPEN SPACE NEW LIFE
Beaufort - the south Wales community that fought to save its local ponds - is now planning to create a new community woodland in the wild open space around them.
A grant of almost £100,000 from Cydcoed-Woods for All, the £16 million Forestry Commission Wales community woodland project funded by the European Union (Objective One) and Welsh Assembly Government, will pay for the borough’s latest green initiative.
After Corus pulled out of the area, which has become a natural wildlife haven, the plan had been to do away with the lakes – a favourite place for local people to visit. The Beaufort Hill Ponds and Woodland Preservation Society, with the local authority, is now working to make it an integral part of a chain of woodlands across the whole area.
“The ponds have always had an attraction for local people, and now we want to make the site even more attractive to even more people,” said society chairman Rex Herbert. “By up-grading the paths and improving access we hope to attract visitors from further away, as well as making the area available all year round.”
New site gateways – designed through an artist residence and made by a local metalworker working with local schools – are aimed at making the new woodland more welcoming.
Signage and interpretation will explain some of the heritage of the area – the ponds are linked with the early days of the industrial revolution and fed water down to the Nantyglo Ironworks.
An all-ability circular path round the ponds will make it easier for disabled people to enjoy the site and the planting of hundreds of trees will be carried out by local people helped by tree specialists.
“There is a tremendous history of people in this area working for change, from Chartist times to the modern day,” said Cydcoed project officer Barbara Anglezarke. “This new project will involve everyone in the community in creating a very special place which will celebrate that heritage, and provide a beautiful place for people to enjoy healthy exercise.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Beaufort Hill Ponds and Woodland Preservation Society was formed in March 2005 in response to the threatened loss of the ponds. It is made up of local residents and incorporated as a Company Limited by Guarantee.
"Chartists were people who wanted the 'People's Charter' to be adopted - they campaigned for reforms in the electoral system which would provide equality and give the ordinary man a say in the way the nation was run. The Charter was widely supported, with a petition of six million being sent to Parliament on one occasion" - but you've probably written a thesis on the subject!
Cydcoed – Woods for All – is a £16 million Forestry Commission Wales grant programme working for communities in the Objective One area of Wales. Cydcoed Phase I was a £4M programme which ran from 2001 to 2004. It has been so successful that in early 2003 a £12M Cydcoed Phase II running until the end of 2008 was launched with funding from the European Union and Welsh Assembly Government. It promotes Welsh forestry for community development with 100% funding and support to help make better use of woods for jobs, economic regeneration, social inclusion, recreation, and conservation.
Forestry Commission Wales is the government department responsible for forestry policy and looks after the 320,000 acres (130,000 ha) of public forests owned by the Welsh Assembly.
Vaughan Lewis of Coed Cymru speaks
to visitors from Cydcoed and Society directors on a bitterly cold day in December 2007.
Cydcoed provided the funding for the development of the Woodlands.Their project officer Barbara Anglezarke worked closely with our Society and Vaughan Lewis of Coed Cymru to help make the project a great success. - Below is an extract from a Cydcoed publication from September 2006.