With assistance from partners such as Blaenau Gwent Council, Nantyglo Communities First and GAVO, community consultations were carried out and funding was secured to improve the site. Over £300,000 was obtained from organisations such as Cydcoed, Welsh Assembly Government, GAVO and the Communities First Trust Fund to improve the facilities and make it more accessible to all users.
Cydcoed was one of the most successful Objective One programmes run in Wales. Managed by Forestry Commission Wales, the £18 million programme was funded by the EU (Objective One) and the Welsh Assembly Government.
More than 160 Community groups across some of the poorest areas of Wales benefited from this innovative community development project – helping them to improve their quality of life.
It used woodlands to provide new jobs and opportunities, empower communities, promote healthy recreation, education and conservation as well as improving more than 37,500 hectares of Welsh woodland and creating a further 227 hectares of new woodland. The programme ran for 7 years from 2001-2008.
CONSTRUCTION OF PATHWAYS
During the summer months of 2006 work started on the construction of the new pathways around the Machine Pond
New Ranch style fencing was erected around the Southern end of the Machine Pond and a new ‘Kissing Gate’ formed one of the entrances to the Parc from Warwick Road.
New steps providing access from Warwick Road onto the cycle route which runs the length of the Parc from Beaufort to Brynmawr. All weather surfaces are a great improvement and much appreciated by all our visitors.
Another example of improved access from Warwick road. This access point allowed entry to those using wheelchairs or for mums with prams and pushchairs.
The photographs below, show the paths before they were constructed in 2006, and how they were developed, and then how they looked in 2011.
THE CAST IRON VICTORIAN STYLE BRIDGE
The Parc is approximately 2 kilometres in circumference and was 'cut in half' by an old wooden bridge, it was decide to replace this old bridge with a new cast-iron Victorian style bridge inkeeping with the industrial heritage of the area. The Friends were fortunate enough to apply for and obtain a grant from the Welsh Development Agency for approx £48,000.
The bridge was designed, manufactured and installed by GOS Tool and Engineering Services - a local company based in Blaenavon and work started on the foundations for the bridge in June 2007, installation of the bridge commenced in August of that year, and completed by the Autumn.
In March 2008, unfortunately, vandals managed to break out large sections of the side panels. Because of this, it had to be closed again for health and safety reasons. New panels were designed, refitted and the bridge re-opened.
In September 2009 a large group of teenagers gathered on the Picnic Area. Sadly, fuelled by alcohol, some of decided that their idea of fun was to 'karate kick' the sides of the bridge out. A witness called the police, and identified the main culprit. He was taken home but declared too drunk to be charged that night, Next morning however, he was charged, and later fined £80.
Since then, the bridge remained open for a time, then closed for repairs, which were completed in early 2013,and the bridge re-opened.
THE OUTDOOR CLASSROOM
In June 2007 the first soil was cut in the contruction of the new outdoor classroom. and by March 2008 it was near completion, although anyone who had visited the area would have noticed the vast number of stones that had come to the surface on the terraces. This was expected by the contractors, and a 'Stone Pick' was organised. Thanks to the Probation Unit's 'Unpaid Work Unit', the outdoor classroom was now tidied up and ready for use. The stones had been picked off the banks, and the green areas strimmed and mowed. In June 2008, the third and last set of entrance gates were installed incorporating a very attractive design by year 9 pupils at Brynmawr Comprehensive.
If any school or other organisation would like to make use of the classroom, please give us a call on 01495 311011, or via this website.