Welsh colliery to become woodland through Ford partnership

An abandoned coal mine in South Wales is to be turned into community woodland through a partnership between the public and private sectors.

Ground preparation works at the colliery. Image: NRW
Ground preparation works at the colliery. Image: NRW

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has joined forces with the Ford Motor Company to create the new woodland on the site of the former Coegnant Colliery and Maesteg Washery in the Upper Llynfi Valley, a project funded by the Welsh Government Nature Fund.

The two organisations will work with local people over the next 10 years to develop and maintain the woods.

Work to convert the 30ha site began earlier this month when diggers moved in to prepare the ground ready for the planting of 60,000 trees over the winter.

Emyr Roberts, NRW chief executive, commented: "The Llynfi project gives us the opportunity to show how we can take forward the sustainable management of natural resources and deliver benefits for local communities."

She added: "NRW's purpose is to ensure that our environment and natural resources are maintained, enhanced and used. But we cannot do this alone and there is enormous value in developing partnerships with communities and the private sector."

The partnership with Ford will support tree planting and developing green exercise facilities providing a space for health and well-being activities for the community.

Mari Sibley, principal surveyor for NRW, explained: "We have been working with the local community to develop plans to create a woodland which will be a place for people to relax, exercise and socialise in a tranquil setting.

"And we will be planting more than 60,000 trees across the site which will include a mixture of broadleaves, fruit and ornamental trees which can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities."

More than 300 of Ford's employees live in the vicinity of the Llynfi Valley. Mark Thomas, Bridgend plant sustainability manager, said the company anticipates staff volunteering many hours working on the woodlands project.

"This encapsulates our sustainability strategy to interconnect our products, plants, people and the communities in which we operate by giving the provision of attractive green space for a community that hosts so many of Ford's employees," he said.

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