The present community has its roots in the industrial revolution and later, aspects of the Chartist movement. Beaufort Hill is a part of what is now regarded as ‘Beaufort’. It is a linear development of housing, small commercial and light industry over the period of the industrial development in the 18th century to the present day, although industrial elements have declined. Beaufort Hill sits at the head of the Ebbw Fawr and Ebbw Fach Valleys .
The community responded in numbers when the threat of pond drainage was imminent. It was community support which prompted what essentially was an action group, to prevent pond drainage, and which encouraged the decision for the Beaufort Hill Ponds and Woodlands Preservation Society to take steps to become a company limited by guarantee. The community has a strong sense of identity which focuses on activities and adult educational opportunities at the Beaufort Hill Welfare Hall. Beaufort Hill Primary School, Pen-y-Cwm School,a facility for children with special educational needs, and playing fields add to community life.
The community is involved with another environmentally focussed organisation which aims to promote an area of industrial dereliction into a community amenity.
FORMATION OF THE SOCIETY.
The Beaufort Hill Ponds & Woodlands Preservation Society was formed in March 2005 in response to the threatened loss of the Beaufort Ponds, which, at the time, were owned by the Corus Steel Company, who closed the Ebbw Vale Tinplate Works in 2002.
Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council owned the site and negotiations for them to take over ownership of the ponds from Corus were completed on February 22nd 2007.
Beaufort Hill Woodlands is managed by B.G.C.B.C Regeneration with the Leisure Department managing the Ponds area in partnership with our Society.
The society is a newly formed company, limited by guarantee, and was incorporated on February 28th 2006 and is managed by a board of directors, currently consisting of fifteen directors who represent a cross section of the community.
John Hillier - Secretary
Eric Smith - Chairman
Adam Hill - Vice Chairman
Roy Lynch - Treasurer
Robert Smith - Minutes Secretary
Jeff Williams - Website Editor
Mrs Marilyn James
Mrs Karon Andrews
HOW TO JOIN OR UPGRADE YOUR MEMBERSHIP
How to join or upgrade your membership
We are actively looking for members new, and existing, to help support our work, financially and/or actively.
We are also looking for new committee members who can support and participate in leading our many projects.
If you would like to become a member and/or support the Society by subscribing, then please complete the second page of the Membership Application Form.
The cost of membership is:
• £1.00 per adult
• £0.50 per child (under 18)
Subscription rates are:
• £5.00 per annum Individual membership
• £7.00 per annum Family membership
Members will receive regular newsletters and access to our exclusive member offers whilst helping to support The Beaufort Hill Ponds & Woodlands.
To download a membership form, please click on the following link.
AIMS OF THE SOCIETY
THE BEAUFORT HILL PONDS AND WOODLANDS PRESERVATION SOCIETY
When the Society was formed in 2005, our aims were to help maintain and improve the ponds and woodlands and preserve the environment for future generations, also to work in a positive partnership with Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council as a way of identifying and solving any problems appertaining to the environment.
We felt that the developing the woodlands on the council owned site were an intrinsic part of the area and worked closely with Coed Cymru on management issues. Over the previous ten years, the council had co-ordinated a phased development of a mixed broadleaved woodland through successive woodland grant schemes
Since the society was formed, we have undertaken site surveys and have mapped and produced a condition report on all the existing informal paths across the site.
The development project included :-
1) Development of site entrances to formalise access and encourage use of the site by the local community .
2) Creation of car parking areas overlooking the ponds to encourage visitors to the area.
3) Upgrading and surfacing the informal pathway network, including the creation of an “ all ability “ circular path around the ponds.
4) Ecological survey, signage and interpretation. – Interpretation panels were placed at the Lower Boat Pond
near Little Lane,and at the Blaen Cendl entrance. A third panel has now been installed near the Butterfly Pond.
5) Community involvement activities which included our three schools designing entrance features.
6) The development of the site would bring social, environmental and economic gains to the area. Improved access
would encourage greater use of the area with ‘all ability’ access.
Community groups and schools would be able to use the site for a variety of purposes.
Anglers would be able to make greater use of the ponds. Local contractors were used where possible.
The local L.A.M.S (Landscape and Access Management Scheme) team were given work experience, enhancing future employment possibilities.
A membership scheme was launched in November 2007, and to date we have 197 members, but would like a lot more, so why not join us ??
DEVELOPMENT OF THE PATHWAYS
For many years there has been an informal network of pathways around the ponds and through the woodlands, but even in the Summer months these could be quite boggy and difficult to access.These 'before and after' photos show how the construction of formal pathways have made it much easier for the many locals and visitors who walk the site. There is good wheelchair access around the ponds and for much of the woodlands with passing points and many benches to take a rest and admire the views.
Directors who are sadly no longer with us
Graham was a local councillor at Beaufort for many years and a founder member of the Beaufort Hill Ponds & Woodlands Preservation Society when it was formed in 2005. He sadly passed away in October 2013, and the following tribute to Graham was written by Society Chairman David White.
" In October 2013, our secretary, Graham Hughes sadly passed away after a long illness. He started the fight to keep the ponds from being drained and filled in, when we called a meeting, we found that there was incredible support.
Problems he worked at, included getting agreement fromCorus, support from the Borough Council and becoming acompany with guarantee, so we could apply for grants.
He was always proud of our achievements and worked hard at looking after the park. Despite his illness, he enjoyed the fruits of his labour. He will be missed by the Directors and visitors alike."
Rex Herbert MBE 1926 - 2018
It was so sad to hear that our former chairman and founding director had passed away at the beginning of December.
Rex was made our Honorary President after relinquishing his role as chairman of Beaufort Hill Ponds & Woodlands Preservation Society.
The Gwent Gazette has now publicly announced his passing as follows:-
"We are sad to report that Wales' longest-serving councillor and a former mayor of Blaenau Gwent has died.
William David Reginald Herbert, known as Rex, served as mayor for the borough three times and was a councillor for 53 consecutive years.
The great-grandfather will also be remembered as a former head teacher of Beaufort Primary School.
In 2001, Rex was awarded an MBE for services to Local Government and the community in Beaufort.
During his career, he played an instrumental role in opening Ebbw Vale swimming pool, redeveloping the steelworks site, and overseeing the Garden Festival.
The 92-year-old will be sorely missed by the community for his years of hard work."
January 2020 - David White
A tribute from Society Secretary John Hillier
"It is with great sadness to hear that our chairman and founding director David White has passed away. David was inspirational in leading our Society since becoming our chair and he has also been supportive in the community as a whole. Personally I have known David for over 30 years, receiving my first pair of overalls from him as an apprentice whilst at British Steel Corporation.
Beaufort Hill Ponds & Woodlands Preservation Society wishes to thank David for his contribution, he will be sorely missed.
The entire family will be in our thoughts and prayers."