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WELSH GOVERNMENT MINISTER OFFICIALY OPENS BRYNGARW’S NEW EDUCATION AND WELLBEING CENTRE

Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden MS, has officially opened ‘Y Nyth’ at Bryngarw Country Park. The new education and wellbeing centre is one of a range of improvements made by Awen Cultural Trust in partnership with Bridgend County Borough Council, following a £750,000 investment by Welsh Government, as part of the Valleys Regional Park.

Bryngarw Country Park is one of 12 Discovery Gateways to benefit from a share of over £8m of funding, aimed at recognising and maximising the potential of the South Wales valleys’ natural and cultural assets to generate social, economic and environmental benefits.

Over the past 18 months, Awen has made significant developments at Bryngarw Country Park, to improve the visitor experience and enhance its educational offer to even more schools and community groups. These include:

  • Y Nyth – a purpose-built classroom and kitchen, with bi-folding doors to a spacious veranda overlooking the tree-tops and River Garw below, available to hire.
  • Visitor centre redevelopment – to provide all-year-round activities for families and visitors interested in the Bryngarw’s fascinating heritage.
  • Outdoor natural play equipment – to support children’s physical and mental health, develop their creativity, imagination and critical thinking, and encourage their social interaction.
  • Interpretation and signage –helping visitors discover and understand the significance and value of Bryngarw’s natural and man-made resources.
  • Bike shelter with green sedum roof to increase biodiversity – to encourage more cyclists to travel to or through Bryngarw.
  • Infrastructure improvements including a new boardwalk within the wet woodland area, upgrades to existing pathways, soft landscaping, a new pond and tree planting.
  • Solar panels on the roof of the visitor centre, café, B-Leaf and Stable Offices, as part of Awen’s ongoing commitment to using sustainable energy sources.
  • Refurbishment of the outdoor public toilets including the installation of sensor taps and PIR sensor lights, to improve energy conservation.
  • Sculptural trail using stylised illustrations to tell the unique stories of five of Bryngarw’s areas of natural habitat.

Over the last 18 months over 350,000 visitors have enjoyed the Park and its facilities.

Richard Hughes, Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust, said:

“We are grateful to Welsh Government for recognising Bryngarw Country Park’s potential as regional visitor destination of choice and supporting our vision with this considerable level of funding. The past 18 months of the pandemic has shown us that fresh air and freedom to explore the great outdoors is fundamental to our physical, mental and social wellbeing. We hope our improvements to Bryngarw, and the development of new, high quality facilities which maximise our rich cultural and natural heritage, will continue to attract, engage and educate the people of the Valleys and visitors to the area, for many more successful years.”

Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport Dawn Bowden said:

“A key priority for the Valleys Taskforce from the outset was to explore the concept of a Valleys Regional Park and help local people take advantage of local natural assets, including attracting visitors to boost the regional economy.

“Bryngarw is a beautiful country park, steeped in local history and I am delighted to officially open the new education and wellbeing centre, Y Nyth, which will offer a wonderful range of educational opportunities for people of all ages and abilities; as well as being a space that can be used as an activity hub for the local community.”

Council Leader Huw David said:

“The partnership between Bridgend County Borough Council and Awen Cultural Trust is continuing to deliver fresh investment into arts and cultural facilities throughout the county borough, and I am looking forward to seeing how this latest round of new developments will benefit visitors to Bryngarw Country Park.”

Phil Lewis, VRP Lead added:

“I’m grateful to everyone involved in the delivery of the new education centre and other improvements across Bryngarw Country Park. These improved facilities and the commitment of the team at Awen Cultural Trust to work with the wider VRP partnership across the Valleys will play a big role in helping our communities and visitors to better understand our natural environment and how we access it as part of our daily living.”