Plans to preserve and improve stunning Penllergare Valley Woods have taken a major step forward.
Swansea Council has signed an agreement with the Penllergare Trust to work in closer partnership than ever to protect, restore and regenerate the natural and cultural landscape of the valley woods in future.
Development and vandalism contributed to the estate’s decline in the late 20th century before the Penllergare Trust was set up to reverse the trend 13 years ago. The new agreement now means Swansea Council will help the trust improve access to the valley woods and promote it as a year-round tourist attraction. The council will also help identify funding opportunities.
Cllr Nick Bradley, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “Penllergare Valley Woods is one of our most stunning natural landscapes but, for a number of reasons, the site has been neglected for too long. The Penllergare Trust has done some outstanding work to raise awareness of the woods and restore the beauty spot over the last decade, but this agreement means we’ll be sharing our expertise with them from now on to help regenerate the site for the benefit of the people of Swansea.”
The agreement will focus on the delivery of activities to be reviewed on a yearly basis. These include Green Flag accreditation for the woods, better signage and the restoration of the observatory and walled garden. Sustainability, training and learning will all form a key part of the regeneration of the valley woods.
Cllr Sybil Crouch, Cabinet Member for Sustainability, said: “There’s a real opportunity here not just to protect Penllergare’s rich diversity of fauna and flora, but also to provide sustainable training, employment and opportunities for volunteer work. This is important because it will arm people with new skills and further raise awareness of the site’s history and biodiversity and secure a sustainable future for this historic site.”
Terry Jones, Chairman of the Penllergare Trust, said: “As a local small independent charity, we need all the help we can get to ensure the woods are managed for public benefit in the long term. We depend on volunteers to run our organisation and are always pleased to hear from people who would like to help and get involved. We’re delighted that Swansea Council has agreed to support us in this way, building on the already strong relationship that we have developed in recent years.
“Not only are the woods nationally important because of the designed landscape created by the Dillwyn Llewelyn family in the 19th Century, but they’re also a key recreational asset and a haven for wildlife in an increasingly urban area. For many years, the woods have been used for informal recreation by local residents and we’re keen to ensure they remain a safe and accessible place for everyone to enjoy.”
The Penllergare estate was at the height of its prosperity in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Its creator, John Dillwyn Llewellyn, was known for his scientific experiments, pioneering photography, landscape design and horticulture.