The Valleys Regional Park

Parc Rhanbarthol y Cymoedd

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The VRP project is one of the cornerstones of the Valleys Regional Park Partnership’s activities. This project is partially funded by the European Union’s ERDF Convergence Fund for West Wales and Valleys, Priority 4, Theme 3 (Creating an Attractive Business Environment/Environment for Growth) of that programme with matched funding provided by the Welsh Government and partner organisations.

Documentation for the VRP project including the ERDF business plan can be downloaded here.



The Opening of Guardian
Six Bells, Abertillery, June 28, 2010

In total, it was worth £22.7M (gross) with the project and ended operationally in 2013.

Documentation for the VRP project including the ERDF business plan can be downloaded here.

Events and Interpretation Projects

Through a tender process, bids from sponsors and VRP partners for 42 events and interpretation projects were supported with the aim of engaging and informing visitors and local communities about the natural and cultural environment of the valleys in connection with infrastructure projects being supported through the VRP. By April 2014, all projects and events had been completed, aside from one which had been de-committed and another carried out through a different non-VRP funding route making a total of 40 projects delivered in total.

The related Brown and White tourism signage scheme, which sought to provide a consistent approach to signage across the valleys, committed £250,000 to date. This was delivered through a joined-up approach, seen as key in order to achieve value, with one local authority acting as lead coordinator and applicant for the funds on behalf of the rest.

The Welsh Economy Research Unit (WERU) has estimated that for eight selected events coordinated and supported by the VRP (Six Bells 2010, Cordell Event 2010, Party in the Past 2010, Turner Exhibition 2010, Welsh Waterways 2010, Welsh Waterways 2011, Cwmbran Big Event 2011, and The Big V Festival 2011), a total of £73,339 in GVA was generated, directly and indirectly, supporting just over 3.5 FTE jobs.

The outcome of Interpretation projects, such as the installation of information panels and ‘fingerpost’ websites and audio trails, are more complex to calculate. However, it can be noted that a website containing audio trails, produced by Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, was visited by 43,008 individuals in 2013. It is further estimated that 1.6% or 688 visitors listened to or downloaded an audio trail. Based on this information Cardiff Business School concluded that “although it is not possible to tell how many of these resulted in an actual visit to undertake an audio trail, there is a potential beneficial promotional effect of the audio trails being listened to and subsequently encouraging visitation”



































Aberbargoed Grasslands ‘Mystery’ Nature Trail

An exciting, engaging fun nature trail based along the lines of a ‘murder’ mystery, the aim was to provide small panels to guide visitors along the route without the need of a leaflet.


Aberdulais Falls – your heritage

A learning project with local communities to encourage involvement in and understanding of local history and distinctiveness, it enhanced off-site presentation and on-site interpretation.


Parc Afan Forest Cycle Route Arts

The artworks will depict the history of the landscape, habitat, community and biodiversity of the Afan Valley providing visitors with information on the local area as well as a point of interest along the route.

It will educate visitors about the rich heritage of the area while involving the local community in the creation of these artworks.


Ancient Heritage – Visitor Promotion

The project will focus on developing and promoting the link between a series of key historical sites and archaeological features:

Ancient track way; St Derfel’s Cistercian Grange Chapel site at Llanderfel Farm, Cwmbran; Bronze age cairns and Twmbarlwm on Mynydd Maen in Caerphilly; The Wenallt, Mynydd Caerphilly & Greenmeadow Woods, Mynydd Maen Cwmbran;Llantarnam Abbey and Tithe Barn; Greenmeadow Community Farm, Cwmbran


Connecting the Heritage (Merthyr Tydfil)

A further phase of the Merthyr Tydfil Orientation and Identity Strategy, this will add value to the HLF Townscape Heritage Initiative and Parks for People by highlighting the history of the area and interpreting it to the public through three map and interpretation panels. These will include a map of the town centre, identification of key points of interest, and an interpretation of the local history of the area.

The proposal includes five directional fingerposts on the route indicating the two main visitor attractions along with information to localised points of interest, which will encourage visitors to move between heritage sites.


Craig-y-Ddinas Recreation Area Improvement

This provides the interpretation for the wider Craig-y-Ddinas Recreation Area infrastructure improvements with two main components:

Interpretation Panels at two key sites within the project area. The first will interpret the industrial and cultural heritage of the site including the silica mines and iron age fort. The second will be sited to interpret the Cilhepste farmsteads and the stories and legends of Sgwd-yr-Eira.

Leaflets: General marketing of the site, visitor management, and interpretation.


Cwmbran Water Festival

Development of an annual “Water Festival” event utilising the newly improved venue of Cwmbran Boating Lake, commencing in the summer of 2011.

This water- and environment- themed event is aimed at local communities and visitors to the area, providing them with a fun day out with water-based and other activities such as walking and cycling.


Forgotten Landscapes – Interpretation and Visitor Information at the Blaenafon World Heritage Centre

A key eastern gateway to the wider Valleys Regional Park area, Forgotten Landscapes is an exciting, innovative project to improve understanding, increase awareness and accessibility and influence the future management of visitors to Blaenafon Industrial Landscape World Heritage Site and its landscape setting.

Through a number of varied projects, it will bring significant long-term benefits, integrating the built, cultural and natural heritage of the area, and helping to achieve the economic, social and environmental regeneration of the wider area.


Fulfilling the Visitor Experience – Caerphilly

This will extend and improve the range of interpretation at established visitor attractions within Caerphilly County Borough, based upon traditional interpretation in the forms of panels and leaflets and the introduction of new technological methods.


Gnoll Estate Country Park Accessibility Project

This will comprise two interpretation boards within the country park accessible for the beamer trampers and specific sites of interest and production of a leaflet showing the routes and points of interest, which will be distributed regionally and used to attract visitors and encourage local residents to venture out into the valleys area.


Go Wild

The 2011 event took  place at the Sir Harold Fin Memorial Park, Pontllanfraith, as part of Wales Biodiversity week in June with a wide of high-quality activities that showcase the attractive environment of the valleys.

Over 8,000 people are expected to attend Go Wild over the next three years, learning about conservation, activities and campaigns and increasing awareness, enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of wildlife and biodiversity.


RCT Heritage Audio Trails & Interpretation

The project comprises four elements:

Audio commentary points for the walking trails that have been developed in three towns, Aberdare, Pontypridd, and Llantrisant as part of the Heritage Lottery funded RCT Heritage Plaques Trails project.

A heritage and countryside interpretation audio trail for the Cwm Hafod Walk from Rhondda Heritage Park.

Development of a local walk with interpretation focusing on the Hirwaun Ironworks and its history.

Creation of audio commentary for a number of Blue Plaque and other sites around RCT. 5,000 additional visitors.


Kidwelly Industrial Museum: Bringing the industry of the past to life
The project relates to the Kidwelly Museum Interpretation Action Plan focused on restoration and preservation of the remaining buildings and machinery of the Kidwelly Tinplate Works with displays and interpretation to enhance education and enjoyment for visitors.


Heritage and Biodiversity of Kidwelly Quay and ‘Loops and Links’ of the Amman and Gwendraeth Valleys
This will bring to life the history, cultural and natural environment of this area using a range of digital technological approaches including  pre-loaded memory sticks, ‘turning pages’ software, MP3 audio files, online blogs, SMS texts interactive touch screen terminals to interpret the information with TV footage with voiceovers by professional “heroes


Merthyr Tydfil Museum Events
(including Turner Exhibition)
This involves the marketing and promotion of commemorative exhibition events at Cyfarthfa Castle, the major focus of which is a J.M.W.Turner exhibition with 10 pictures on loan from the Tate Gallery to be displayed alongside works of his Welsh contemporary, Penry Williams, from Merthyr Tydfil, known as the ‘Welsh Turner’.

The project also commemorates key events related to the Cyfarthfa Ironworks with an exhibition to educate visitors by illustrating a direct link to the industrial revolution, a major facet of Merthyr Tydfil’s heritage.


Merthyr Tydfil Heritage Trails Interpretation Project

The project builds on the destination’s natural assets and resources to make it more attractive to visitors and locals, including a strong community involvement for destination development and marketing. It will supply a variety of interpretive media including installation of outdoor heritage interpretation panels and production of information leaflets.


Parc Slip Nature Reserve Visitor Centre Interpretation

The project will update and modernise the existing interpretation within Parc Slip Visitor Centre to appeal to new and existing audiences. The bilingual interactive interpretation will be fully interactive with information on the species and habitats and updates on upcoming family events and WTSWW training days.

A large-scale display and map of the nature reserve on the southern external wall of the visitor centre will act as a guide for visitors when the centre is closed, highlighting areas of interest.

A leaflet will give information on each of the WTSWW nature reserves in the Valleys, promoting tourism and people’s enjoyment and understanding of wildlife.


Parc Tondu – Heritage Connections

The project will enhance accessible interpretation at the site. It will:

Attract community cycle/walking route users into Parc Tondu and the wider valleys areas through 5 signs

Make the site’s archaeology more accessible through an interpretive sign board

Publish a leaflet to interpret the site for visitors, and increase visitors to Parc Tondu by promotion at other local venues

There will be a range of signposted activities to bring in families.


Six Bells Miners Memorial - ‘Guardian’ opening

Opening and commemorative ceremony on 28th June 2010 marking the 50th anniversary of the disaster at Six Bells Colliery, Abertillery.

10 Communities First Board Chairs and Coordinators, 7 community groups in Six Bells, 3,000 individuals assisted; 3,000 additional visitors


Valleys Cycle Network sculpture project

A sculpture project based on landscape art and liaison with local community adjacent to Maesteg Comprehensive school.


Valleys Cycle Network marketing

Valleys Cycle network marketing - events and promotion of the cycle projects across VRP


Tonypandy 2010 & Cordell Festival

Commemoration of Tonypandy Riots part of the Great Unrest across south Wales incorporating the annual Cordell Festival.

A planned programme of events includes a touring educational play, art competition, launch of Archibald Hood Community Garden, re-installing the ‘Lady with the Lamp’ statue, a performance of specially commissioned musical at Park & Dare Theatre and Community Play, as well as links with the Valleys Walking Festival.


Torfaen Community Workshop Programme

A programme of cultural heritage and education-based activities throughout Torfaen will enhance the provision of events in Blaenafon, Pontypool and Cwmbran with strategic co-ordination, promotion and marketing

This programme of workshops and activities will complement other events at the three venues throughout the year.


Welsh Waterways Festival 2011 incorporating the IWA National Trail Boat Festival

The Welsh Waterways Festival 2011 with an estimated 40 boats will be held over the May Bank Holiday 201 along the Neath Canal in conjunction with Neath Canal Navigation and Neath & Tennant Canals Trust.


Blaenafon World Heritage Site - a 10 year celebration
An open-air event with concert, son et lumière and firework display at Blaenafon Ironworks to mark the 10th anniversary of the World Heritage Site status, bringing the story of Blaenafon’s past to life through music, historical re-enhancements and performances.


Spirit of Bevan – Sirhowy Sculpture
An interpretive installation at Sirhowy, Tredegar with smaller installations to frame the main project which will widen community engagement.


M4 Valleys Regional Park South-Western Gateway (Coed Gwilym)

The project will upgrade the signage and interpretation of Coed Gwilym:

Provide visitor orientation and information boards near to the parking area and links to adjacent canal footpaths and cycleways.

Renovate a disused heritage centre with fixed interpretation, temporary exhibitions and IT provision for digital information relating to local attractions

Work with Clydach local history group to develop the centre as a hub for a collection of historic photographs, tracing important local families and interpretation of local industrial heritage.

Market and promote events at Coed Gwilym and link to events at other hubs within VRP, particularly within the local region, such as walking/cycling events, fishing events at Lower Lliw Reservoir, and Garnswllt Activity Centre.


Green Valley Sustainability Centre Interpretation and Promotion Scheme

This includes the creation of a range of interpretation and promotional features comprising:

Interpretation panel guide for the Green Valley Site, with links to other heritage and visitor outdoor attractions within the area:

Locality signage points linking to the Green Valley Centre;

Development of an interactive website;

Production and distribution of high-quality publicity material;

  • Launch and media promotional events


Dyffryn Llynfi Porthcawl Railway (DLPR) Digital Interpretation

This interpretive project makes full use of traditional and modern techniques to enhance the understanding and appreciation of great historical asset in the valleys.

The DLPR Interpretation Plan has grouped all the sites of historical significance with interpretive potential into 4 geographic clusters.

These will form the focus for each element of the project for use of traditional on-site interpretation at each site, alongside Quick Response (or QR) code technology for additional interpretation immediately accessible via SMART phones.


Community e-Trails

Community e-trails are part of a Wales-wide initiative to deliver local community content to the Peoples Collection Wales website. The objective of Community e-trails is to provide the very best walking experiences within each of the participating communities. Their content will develop trails and routes to encourage visitors and local communities to discover their heritage on foot. All the trails will be on Public Rights of Way.


Enhanced Community and Visitor Facilities in the Upper Amman Valley

Information guides for visitors to provide a visual link as to what was once at the heart of this community and to raise awareness of the return of the flora and fauna.

Upgrade and development of the club’s website to tell the history of the former mining communities and a guide to the area’s future development.


Parc Taf Bargoed Signage and Interpretation

As identified in the Cyfarthfa Park & Parc Taf Bargoed Development Study & Implementation Plan 2008, better signage and interpretation will provide enhanced information for visitors and improved orientation regarding routes and walks.


Cwmaman Sculptural Area

Creation of a sculptural play area based on local birds, railway carriages and the mining industry at the Cwmaman Community Woodland and Sculpture Trail that reflect the wildlife and heritage of Cwmaman. The project will upgrade a central area on the trail, adding value to the existing sculpture trail and will attract families to visit the site and spend more time on the trail.


Caerphilly Miners Making History Project

The proposed project is unique as a tourism heritage initiative that tells the story of the creation of a ‘Miners’ Hospital’.

The first phase of the project will build the content for a ‘living archive’, which has commenced with the collection of some digital stories. This project will add more stories and develop the capacity to hold addition material in the form of written information; photographs; art and creative writings at the time; and artefacts.

The second phase concerns the physical display of the collection in the refurbished Miners’ Centre with two rooms on the ground floor of the former Beeches building identified for exhibitions.


Ebbw Fach Trail - Signage and Interpretation

This project will support the infrastructure works along the trail with interpretation and signage. 3,175 ha of land improved; 15+ community groups assisted; 500 additional visitors; 5 lengths of access route created.


Gren Way

The proposed works are to follow on from the concept launch that is to occur in September; this will involve a plaque on Grens former house and a series of temporary Komopore boards depicting characters along the route. 2 community groups assisted; 1,000 additional visitors.


Cwm Garw Fechan

To create a popular visitor attraction that will involve the creation of a scenic circular walk capitalising on the natural beauty of Cwm Garw Fechan