They are the valleys that helped shape and change the world – and today, they offer not only some of the finest scenery and heritage in Wales and the UK, but also a wide range of outdoor activities such as mountain biking, kayaking and trail walking.
Brought together under the Valleys Regional Park, the natural and cultural heritage of the South Wales Valleys are being promoted as a region linked by 10 sites currently named as Discovery Gateways.
Now, in a new Valleys Regional Park website launched yesterday, residents, visitors and local businesses will be able to find out more on what they can see and do across the Valleys.
Phil Lewis who is leading Valleys Regional Park said: “Using a whole valleys approach, the Valleys Regional Park is here to promote and celebrate the restoring of our valleys landscape, making sure we bring together the health of the land, people and the economy in everything that we do. This new website will help us to do that.”
The Discovery Gateway sites include the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre, Bryngarw Country Park and Caerphilly Castle as well as Cwmcarn Forest Drive, Cyfarthfa Park and Dare Valley Country Park.
In total ten places are featured, with the other sites being Parc Bryn Bach in Blaenau Gwent, Parc Penallta in Caerphilly, Parc Slip in Bridgend, and Ynysangharad War Memorial Park in Pontypridd.
Bridgend County Borough Council Leader Huw David said: “The Valleys Regional Park aims to make the most of the wonderful landscape, natural resources and cultural assets we have in our valleys for those who live in our communities, for the environment and for the economy.
“Linking our towns and villages in the Valleys together is a vast network of uplands, woodlands, nature reserves, country parks, rivers, reservoirs and canals, heritage sites and attractions.
“With their history and beauty, they deserve a national and international profile.”
The new website includes a map of the region with information provided on the Discovery Gateway sites which then link through to the relevant site’s main website. In addition to activities and events taking place, volunteering opportunities will also be listed.
The Valleys Regional Park was announced by Welsh Government in 2018 with £7m investment to help make the most of the area’s rich natural and cultural heritage.
In addition to promoting the Valleys as a destination, the Valleys Regional Park also involves encouraging partners to work towards best practice in landscape management to help improve biodiversity.
The regional partnership is hosted by Bridgend County Borough Council with the board comprising the council leaders of the 13 local authorities within the region.