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Prospectus published for Valleys Regional Park

Words: Roger Milne
The Valleys, Wales / iStock-903201744

Welsh local government secretary Alun Davies has published the government’s prospectus for a Valleys Regional Park.

Over the next couple of years the administration is to establish what it claims will be a new type of formally designated landscape. This will be designed to make the most of the natural and cultural heritage of the Valleys.

Ministers believe it could have a transformative effect on the local, and national, economy and have allocated £7 million to establish the park.

It will comprise a highly visible and a high-quality network of uplands, woodlands, nature reserves and country parks, rivers, reservoirs and canals, as well as heritage sites and attractions connected with towns and villages.

The prospectus states: “We will build on the best the Valleys already has to offer. There are excellent country parks and centres that attract visitors and local people. Working with partners, we will develop and enhance a selection of these strategic sites as so-called ‘Discovery Gateways’.

“As well as destinations, we want them to tell the stories of the Valleys and act as launchpads that encourage local people and visitors to explore and discover the surrounding areas, including our towns and villages, and the wider landscapes.”

The government says it would work with the emerging Metro to maximise the opportunities for walking and cycling at the developing transport hubs to support shared ambitions of connecting green infrastructure and attractions with a modern transport system.

Also in prospect is the creation of new environmental assets across the Valleys through the area statements, which Natural Resources Wales must develop alongside the new breed of long-term well-being plans.

“The regional park should provide a framework for using the Valleys’ natural and cultural heritage to develop and showcase its arts and cultural activities like the pioneering Emscher Landscape Park in Germany,” the prospectus continues.

Davies insisted: “The Valleys Regional Park is not a one-off project or initiative; it is at the very heart of our ambition to help Valleys communities to maximise the opportunities afforded by our natural and cultural heritage to deliver significant social, economic and environmental benefits.”

The prospectus can be found here on the Welsh Government website.

Image credit | iStock