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Press Release

Rugby legend Sir Gareth’s homeland to be transformed

08 February 2018

A beautiful part of the Amman Valley known as the “Gateway to the Black Mountain” is to be conserved and enhanced to contribute to tourism in the area as part of a Neath Port Talbot Council project.

Lower Brynamman

The Amman Valley communities of Cwmgors, Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen and Tairgwaith will form the initial focus of the project devised by the council’s Countryside and Wildlife team under its Working with Nature scheme.

Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainable Development Councillor Annette Wingrave said: “The ‘Gateway to the Black Mountain’ is full of natural beauty and important nature sites that are worthy of conservation and promoting.”

Legend has it that King Arthur and his knights hunted wild boar on the slopes of the Amman Valley – now Wild Boar are featured on historical trail boards and metal sculptures in and around Ammanford.
The Black Mountain, a major feature of this dramatic landscape in the north west of Neath Port Talbot, is regularly sought out by film makers, particularly because of the sweeping ribbons of highway on the A4069.

Among the famous names linked to this area are the rugby wizards Shane Williams (from Ammanford) and the man who many consider the greatest ever player – Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen born Sir Gareth Edwards.
The project to promote the Gateway to the Black Mountain aims to enlist the help of the wider community through an outdoor education and craft programme which plans to promote the benefits of spending time in nature through volunteer task days and well-being activities that make use of the spectacular natural environment.

Working in conjunction with the local volunteer-run community library, the under development local community centre Y Banwen and community councils, Working with Nature staff will establish activities in key parts of the Gateway to the Black Mountain area, including the grounds of the Y Banwen Centre and several “wild spaces” in the Cwmgors area.

Conservation work will focus on maintaining eco-systems and natural habitats that can be accessed as community areas as well as invasive species management and maintaining paths and access points – all of which will be completed by project staff working with local volunteers.

Councillor Wingrave added: “It’s hoped the community will benefit from the project through an improved local environment, increased chances of new jobs and a rising sense of confidence and well-being through spending time outdoors.“

The first of the many activities taking place in the area as part of the project is due on April 18th this year when an open day will be held with willow weaving and bushcraft workshops available free of charge to community members to come and try and to learn more about the project and work being carried out in the area.

Volunteer days run regularly throughout the Neath Port Talbot Council area and all engagement events and activities are promoted through social media and by local partners. The Working with Nature team can be followed on Facebook @WorkingWithNatureNPT.

The Working with Nature programme is backed by the Welsh Government Rural Communities Rural Development Programme (RDP)  which is jointly funded by the European Union as part of the Common Agricultural Policy. There is also support from the Welsh Government Single Revenue Grant, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council and two community authorities, Dyffryn Clydach CC and Pontardawe Town Council.