The Spirit of Llynfi is a 10 year project (2015 – 2025) to transform the former Coegnant Colliery and Maesteg Washery site in the Llynfi Valley near Bridgend into a 75 hectare community woodland park.
The Colliery closed in the 1980s and left behind a bare hillside with little amenity for the local population. The possibility of transforming it became a reality in 2015 when the Welsh government awarded a grant of £627,000 to a community woodland project. The project is being led by Natural Resources Wales and partners include Bridgend County Borough Council, Maesteg Town Council and the local Health Trust. The Ford Motor Company is also supporting the project as 300 employees from its Bridgend plant live within a 10 mile radius of the area.
The project is a great example of:
• Involving local people: the masterplan for the project had input from the community from the very beginning which has provided many ideas e.g. dog agility trail, running track, green gym, statue of miner. Local people, including school children, have helped to plant trees and are now forming a regular work party.
• Providing multiple benefits: increasing biodiversity, improving health and wellbeing, reducing flood risk through tree-planting.
• Obtaining private sector support: Ford Motor Company have made a financial commitment to the project for the next 10 years as well as offering practical support relating to getting infrastructure on site.
• A long term project that is seeking long term gains for its beneficiaries.
Upper Llynfi Valley, 9 miles north of Bridgend
Aims of the project/initiative:
The Spirit of Llynfi Woodland project was set up with the following aims:
• Tackling poverty – through the creation of more resilient communities – by providing green infrastructure designed with the community to offer a range of social and environmental benefits, particularly focused on health needs.
• Enhancing resilience and diversity - delivering a minimum of 30ha of new native broadleaf woodland planting within a wider woodland park, establishing connectivity between other native woodland sites along the river corridor.
• Green growth - delivering innovative opportunities for payments for ecosystem services, by registering carbon credits created by the woodland planting and obtaining private sector investment through selling those credits.
• Resource efficiency – more effective use of the public estate, contributing to reducing burden on health and social services.