Our cookies

We use cookies, which are small text files, to improve your experience on our website.
You can allow all or manage them individually.

Manage cookiesAllow all

Our cookies

Allow all

We use cookies, which are small text files, to improve your experience on our website. You can allow all or manage them individually.

You can find out more on our cookie page at any time.

EssentialThese cookies are needed for essential functions such as logging in and making payments. Standard cookies can’t be switched off and they don’t store any of your information.
AnalyticsThese cookies help us collect information such as how many people are using our site or which pages are popular to help us improve customer experience. Switching off these cookies will reduce our ability to gather information to improve the experience.

Save preferences

Making lasting connections between communities and nature

Bridgend College volunteer day

We launched our ‘Green Links’ initiative three years ago to help local communities in Bridgend make lasting connections with nature-rich spaces for the benefit of both plants and people.

The project aims to celebrate some of the county’s special green spaces, which range from stretches of sand dune to intimate woodland, while helping them to remain havens for wildlife and areas which everyone can enjoy.

The four-year scheme, supported in its first year by National Resources Wales, has been funded by the National Lottery Community Fund’s People and Places Wales Revenue Grants and The Waterloo Foundation, and saw much of its earlier work to build relationships bear fruit during the year.

Here are some of the highlights.

Making mini meadows

We joined forces with the Valleys to Coast Housing Association to launch a pilot project to create a meadow at a housing estate in Porthcawl.  

Working with contractors, we ensured that sections of grassland around the estate were left unmown during spring 2021, with wildflowers and grasses emerging in early summer as a result. We followed this with a ‘rake and seed’ event in September, which saw residents and school children work with Robert Roffe, from the National Lottery Community Fund and Sarah Murphy, MS for Bridgend and Porthcawl, to clear away mown grasses and sow wildflower seeds. With our support, a residents’ group has also been created to enthuse and engage other local people in the project.

Following our success at Porthcawl, Valleys to Coast chose a second housing estate to scarify in autumn 2021, while two schools close to the sites have been inspired by the project and developed meadows in their grounds.

Work is now taking place to identify additional areas which could benefit so that the programme can be rolled out further as we continue to explore effective ways to work with contractors.

Kenfig Citizen Science Session
Raking event at Porthcawl Housing Estate

Sharing skills and peer support

Our focus on inspiring people to care for the natural environment was maintained during 2021/22 as we continued to support two networks by offering training sessions and workshops to help members build their skills and develop knowledge.

As well as a practical session on invasive plants, we offered citizen science activities, wildflower identification training, online events, in person gatherings, multiple meadow site visits and a scything course. Feedback from those taking part has been positive, with the groups appreciating the opportunity to network, share expertise, gain new skills and offer each other support.

Those to benefit include the Vale of Glamorgan, Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot Meadows Group, whose membership has grown to 40 individuals who manage or own grassland, and the Bridgend Green Network, which has inspired 60 people to take action for green spaces.

More support for the dunes

Our partnership with Bridgend College continued to strengthen during the year as we worked towards establishing a long-term connection between the college and Kenfig National Nature Reserve.

We collaborated with tutors to create an engagement programme for students and staff and held volunteer sessions to give them the chance to take part in conservation work. Plans were also put in place for a series of skills-based outdoor learning sessions later in 2022.

Our efforts to connect local people with the wonderful flora of Kenfig also continued as we joined forces with reserve staff to carry out citizen science training and hold an event to mark international sand dune day, which attracted more than 100 visitors. 

Meadow group meeting at Parc Slip

Image credits: All images - Helen Bradley

Next project

Magnificent Meadows Wales: Gweirgloddiau Gwych Cymru

Read more