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Friends of Parc Nant-y-Waun - Page 2

March 2012 - Parc Nant-y-Waun development work. New trees have been planted along the pathway from the Car Park at the Beaufort Hill Entrance.

A new path has been constructed from the cycle path up to Twyncynghordy, and a new wall has been built near the Picnic Area.
Three Interpretation Posts have been erected at the top end of the pond near to the new pathway to Winchestown.

The text below has been taken from the Interpretation Posts.

There are three ponds in the Park, the large pond known locally as the Machine Pond, and the Horsetail Pond are of ecological and archaeological importance. They date between 1796 and 1820 and were once part of a series of five ponds that ran into the ironworks at Nantyglo.
The site also supports other smaller ponds, which are important for birds, amphibians and dragonflies.
The park has enjoyable short trails, an outdoor classroom and an exercise trim trail.

Local heritage
The ponds here were once a series of five that fed the Nantyglo Ironworks which opened in 1796.
The area around Nantyglo soon became one of the most important iron producing centres in the world.
In 1811 Matthew Wayne and Joseph Bailey, purchased the lease of ironworks at Nantyglo. Wayne later sold out to Crawshay Bailey and together they turned it into one of the great ironworks of Wales. By 1827 they had seven blast furnaces operating at Nantyglo and had added the nearby Beaufort ironworks to their business.
Much of the iron made here was used in making rails for the rapidly expanding settlements of the United states.
Coal overtook iron in importance and mines opened up all down the valley which saw the Nantyglo Ironworks finally closing in 1878.

Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris)
This bright yellow flower can be found in wet areas around the pond.
Also known as Kingcup, it is believed to be one of Britain’s most ancient native plants and may have been growing here since before the last Ice Age.
It is a spectacular-looking plant, with large rich yellow flowers, each with five petals, and shiny green, heart-shaped leaves borne on long, smooth hollow stems.

Grass snake (Natrix natrix) *
Found in ponds, lakes, streams and ditches, the grass snake is difficult to spot although it can be seen when it is basking - the grass snake has to bask in the sun in order to reach a high enough body temperature to be able to function efficiently and so that it can digest its prey.
The grass snake eats frogs, toads and newts, although fish, small mammals and even young birds may also be taken.

Reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) *
This bird will be seen perching amongst tall marshy grassland.
The reed bunting is a sparrow-sized bird with a long notched tail. In the breeding season, males can be identified by their black head, white collar and a characteristic 'moustache'.
The female builds the nest from grass, twigs and pieces of reed with a soft lining of moss close to the ground amongst dense vegetation.

* These species are rare in the local area. As such they have been included in Blaenau Gwent’s Local Biodiversity Action Plan, which sets out how species and habitats alike can be protected and enhanced.

To find out more about the Friends of Parc Nant-y-Waun, please visit their website, by clicking  on the logo

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