Cwmcelyn Ponds & Woodlands
Designated as a local nature reserve
Cwmcelyn Pond and Woodlands.
Cwmcelyn Pond is what remains of an old colliery feeder pond. It has been transformed into a recreational pond for fishing. This is another good walk and picnic spot, with an all ability path around the pond and an outdoor classroom. The forestry contains the remains of the railway used to carry quarried stone from further up the mountain. It is possible to find arrow heads, flints and other artifacts on the site.
This former feeder pond is now transferred into a recreational lake with walks, picnic area and fishing.
A group of Blaenau Gwent volunteers dedicated to cleaning up their own community in Cwmcelyn, near Blaina have won a Keep Wales Tidy award.
Cwmcelyn Tennents and Residents Association has spent the past seven years working to improve the envirornment around Cwmcelyn Pond the forest, woodland and Ystryth River for the benefit of the local people.
Below is a report from the tenant's and residents association on the project to improve their environment.
Cwmcelyn Tenants & Residents Association
We first formed as an environmental group in 2001, we were a group of 20 but can call on 30 to 40 regular volunteers. Our immediate aim was to improve the area of Blaina know as Cwmcelyn, to clear litter, rejuvenate our local pond, river and forest and make it an area we could be proud of. We started by asking B.G.C.B.C to help us rebuild the bridge across Cwmcelyn Pond which had been demolished and B.G.C.B.C had no plans to rebuild it.
With the help of Enviornmental Wales, ENFYS and Keep Wales Tidy the bridge was rebuilt. This began the first stage of what has become part of a much, much bigger project.
Once the bridge was built we began funding to reinstate the pathway around the pond providing access for the slightly less able walkers and mothers with pushchairs. We then provided seating and litter bins around the pond so that visitors could walk, sit and chat, enjoy the open air, picnic and clear their litter away.
We improved the pathway from the pond to the local picnic area and cleared and planted 200 shrubs and trees with the help of local schoolchildren, youth clubs and volunteers.
This stage of our project involved the Ystruth River area we secured funding to erect a fence to deter motorbike riders from riding along the pathways and digging up the area. With the help of Keep Wales Tidy we took away years of litter and cleared the river banks.
We still hope to create a dipping pool for the use of local schools, that will be the river stage of our projects.
This stage was securing funding from Environmental Wales and ENFYS to complete the Cwmcelyn Pond bridge link, this path links the pond, picnic area and Cwmcelyn forest providing walkways for all to use and at the same time providing safe pathways to local schools.
This stage which is now complete was to bring back Cwmcelyn forest to community use. This was our biggest project to date, we secured a £70,000 grant from Cydcoed to open up the woods linking them to the pond with pathways to the river and picnic area, with an open air classroom for the use of schools and youth groups and a wet area to encourage the biodiversity of the forest.
The local school children worked with a multi-media artist to create a CD Rom and murals investigating the history, geography animal and plant diversity of their locality. We worked with landscape architects, project engineers and multimedia specialists which tested our skills to the maximum. Most of the conifers were cut down and hundreds of broad leaf trees have been planted. The forest floor is already regenerating itself.
We officially opened the Cwmcelyn Forest project in June 2008 with an Open Day with 350 plus visitors, we have pathways linking to all our projects.
The community usage of the areas - walkers, hikers and families has become so popular that we must proceed with the river stage very soon (stage 7).
This stage will be to provide a pathway through the forest to a viewing point at the highest point of the woodland.
Cwmcelyn Angling Club
The Angling Club was formed in 1971 and controls the fishing rights on Cwmcelyn feeder pond. The pond is set in beautiful surroundings and is still water venue with a large variey of course fish.
To find out more about the angling club, please click on the following link to visit their website.
"Green Spaces " page