A new website and a social media campaign have been launched to promote the Valleys as a Regional Park. Following widespread community engagement led by the Taskforce for the South Wales Valleys, the Valleys Regional Park is being developed through a partnership of 13 local authorities, backed by Welsh Government. The programme recognises that the valleys landscape will work with individuals, communities, organisations and businesses to generate environmental, economic and social wellbeing.
Previously known as the South Wales Coalfields, the region stretching from Carmarthen to Pontypool and from Bridgend to Merthyr Tydfil has been established as the Valleys Regional Park, to maximise the social, economic and environmental potential of the Valleys’ natural and cultural heritage assets. Ten sites popular with residents and tourists, have been designated as Discovery Gateways. These are spread across the Valleys and feature some of the most dramatic scenery and landscapes in the UK. The Discovery Gateways will enable all who live in, work in, or visit South Wales to make the most of the rich culture, natural environment and landscape of the region.
In line with the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act and the ‘Our Valleys, Our Future Plan’, the initiative is intended to encourage a spirit of pride and discovery in the Valleys. Its aims are to: promote high quality green space for better health and wellbeing; support local communities and local businesses; encourage economic opportunities around the landscape; as well as to support climate change initiatives and improve biodiversity and habitat connectivity.
The Welsh Government backed programme is being overseen by a board made up of the leaders of 13 local authorities including: Blaenau Gwent; Bridgend; Caerphilly; Cardiff; Carmarthenshire; Merthyr Tydfil; Monmouthshire; Neath Port Talbot; Newport; Rhondda Cynon Taff; Swansea; Torfaen; and the Vale of Glamorgan.
Phil Lewis, VRP Programme Lead said, “We are looking at how communities and businesses in this post-industrial area can collaborate to work with, and harness, our superb natural and cultural assets. The programme will inspire positive changes in the way we care for our Valleys landscape. It will help people connect with a wide range of outdoor activities for health and wellbeing. It will support communities as they explore new ideas and enterprises. The end goal being to create an area as rich in national pride as it is rich in natural assets”.
More about the Valleys Regional Park and each of the Discovery Gateways, including their locations and opening hours, can be found on the VRP website and on social media channels @lovethevalleys.