Byline: Paul Rowland
RED grouse and wild mountain ponies will return to the landscape surrounding one of Wales' most important industrial sites under a pounds 1.6m regeneration project announced today.
The money will be spent on the landscape surrounding the World Heritage Site in Blaenavon in an attempt to improve the quality of a 70sq km area left barren by the town's history of heavy industry.
The award, given by the Heritage Lottery Fund to the Forgotten Landscapes Partnership, will fund projects including:
The restoration of relics from the industrial era, including buildings, mining infrastructure and monuments; the conservation of the natural habitat to improve standards for wildlife; and improving access to the wider area.
Blaenavon, now most famous for the Big Pit visitor attraction, was designated a Unesco World Heritage Site in recognition of its crucial role in the history ofWales' industrial past.
The 70sq km area is a significantly transformed post-industrial landscape shaped by the iron and coal industry that dominated the area for more than 150 years. The whole area is covered by early coal opencasts and it survives as probably the only sizeable, abandoned, multi-period, opencast mineral working in South Wales.
The area is also rich in natural heritage and contains five sites of special scientific interest and one special area for conservation.
It is hoped species including grouse, mountain ponies and wild birds will be encouraged to breed in the area as a result of projects to boost wetlands, grassland and heather moorlands areas.
The project also aims to recruit a team of volunteers to act as guides on trails and walks and undertake land management. …