Rescue planned for derelict park

Penllegare Valley Woods set for return to Victorian heyday

The remains of what was one of Wales’s finest Victorian parks are being considered for restoration. Penllergare Valley Woods, a 100ha site near Swansea, has fallen into disrepair following an “impossible legal agreement”, which handed maintenance responsibilities to local housing developers. The 125-year contract has fallen apart in recent years over operation costs, resulting in the dereliction of the historical site. The Penllergare Trust is now working with the Forestry Commission Wales and the City & County of Swansea to try to reverse the decline. Project co-ordinator Michael Norman said: “This will be one of the biggest Welsh regeneration projects of the decade, in line with Aberglasney and the National Botanic Garden of Wales.” The trust hopes to restore the upper valley, featuring the park’s iconic waterfall (pictured), in a romantic, picturesque style, with the lower valley restored as a mixed woodland pasture. More formally, it hopes to turn the site’s walled gardens into a showcase of Victorian horticulture, consistent with modern organic methods. However, the first task it faces is to secure the site. Norman said: “Our first priority will be to provide a safe and functional park with adequate facilities as soon as possible before any major works start.” Extensive historical research and a survey of the site have already been undertaken.

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