Glamorgan Gazette Article 28.06.2017
The Welsh Assembly’s Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee (CCERA) visited Maesteg recently to hold one of their evidence sessions as part of their ongoing enquiry into woodlands and forestry in Wales.
The enquiry session took place in the surroundings of the old library (in the ironworks part) at Maesteg Recreation Centre, followed by a long and in-depth tour of the Spirit of Llynfi Woodland with volunteers and staff from National Resources Wales and others.
A spot of tree planting in the community orchard was also undertaken.
A major Welsh Assembly Committee came to Maesteg Sports Centre to hold a stakeholder event on their enquiry into woodlands and forestry this week, which was followed by an extensive tour of the landmark Spirit of the Llynfi Community Woodland.
Committee Member and Ogmore AM Huw Irranca-Davies said “Our committee tries to get out of Cardiff Bay to take evidence whenever we can, to see first-hand some of the best examples of work which is relevant to our enquiry. So visiting the Spirit of Llynfi Woodland was top of our list. Holding our enquiry-session in a part of the historic Llynfi Ironworks at Maesteg Sports Centre was a real bonus, and the committee was hugely impressed by the grandeur of the converted building.”
The Committee spent time with volunteers and organisers of the Spirit of Llynfi Woodland, as they also visited the iconic Keeper of the Collieries statue which keeps watch over the valleys from its high vantage point. They heard how the local community alongside the woodland has been involved in every stage of its design and evolution, and also in the maintenance and further development of the site with Jogging Circuits and Dog-Trails and Interpretation Boards. The use of “social prescribing” by local GPs to promote improvements in health through walking and cycling in the woodland, and the involvement of local schools and others in planting community woodland and fruit-orchards was also explained to the committee members.
Huw Irranca-Davies said “I want to thank all those who contributed to and participated in our committee visit. I am always immensely proud of our valley and our communities, and I know that committee members and officials were deeply impressed by what they saw on their visit. They spoke with many people as we walked through the Spirit of Llynfi woodland who loved making use of this green space, some of whom were venturing up there for the first time, and that was the best testament to the success of this exciting long-term project.”