Natural Resources Wales submits plans for Cwmcarn Forest Drive redevelopment
News | Rhys Williams | Published: 16:17, Tuesday December 17th, 2019.
Last updated: 16:18, Tuesday December 17th, 2019
Plans to redevelop Cwmcarn Forest Drive have been submitted by Caerphilly County Borough Council by Natural Resources Wales (NRW).
The plans, which have also been submitted to Torfaen Council, could see a number of picnic and barbecue areas along the route.
Secluded seating areas and a wooden cabin offering panoramic views are included in the plans, along with three childrens’ play areas with woodland sculptures and sensory tunnels.
Information signs could also be place around the site, explaining the history of the area and local wildlife.
The forest drive will be reopened to the public next year, for the first time since 2014.
The site was closed to allow around 70% of its trees to be cut down to stop the spread of a tree disease.
The Cafall trail was reopened in November, meaning all trails were reopened for cyclists.
In the New Year, work will begin to resurface the drive to fix damage caused by timber haulage trucks removing diseased trees.
Geminie Drinkwater, project manager at NRW, thanked residents for their patience and said: “The reopening of the Forest Drive has been long awaited and we’re really excited to be making preparations for its reopening, and improving the site so it can continue to be loved by locals and visitors for years to come.
“We hope the forest will offer something for everyone – exhilarating mountain bike trails, quiet areas for mindfulness and wellbeing, and educational trails where little explorers can learn more about the forest and its creatures.”
Ms Drinkwater added: “Larch disease has had a dramatic impact on our forestry across Wales, and nowhere is that more prominent than Cwmcarn.
“It’s been so sad to see the larch go, but despite this we’re confident that we can once again make Cwmcarn a fantastic destination for visitors and an important contributor to the local economy.”
Islwyn’s Assembly Member, Rhianon Passmore, welcomed the news and said: “The desire to make Cwmcarn Forest, one of the natural wonders of Wales, fully accessibly to as many people as possible is wonderful news.”
Ms Passmore praised the Welsh Government for being “so supportive in terms of financial resources and expertise” to help with the reopening and redevelopment of the site “for the whole of Wales and the world to enjoy once again”.
“I shall continue to push for additional investment and prominence to be given to Cwmcarn Forest so that the whole world will rediscover what beauty we possess in the Gwent Valleys,” Ms Passmore added.