World Wetlands Day – 2nd February

Tomorrow is World Wetlands Day! Each year this day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2nd February 1971. The Convention was signed by Ramsar, Iran on the shores of the Caspian Sea.

The convention seeks to stem the loss of wetland loss of wetland habitats now and in the future, whilst recognising the fundamental ecological importance of wetlands as well as their economic, cultural, scientific and recreational value.

Since 1977 the Ramsar Secretariat has offered a new selection of posters, stickers and information packs on the value of wetlands.


The theme for 2013 is ‘Wetlands take care of water’, focusing on the interdependence between water and wetlands, and promoting the crucial role that wetlands play in Eco-Environments. The leaflet explains in more detail the importance of Wetland in taking care of water.

The Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance includes approximately 2,065 sites (or Ramsar Sites) covering a staggering 197,347,539 hectares/. The United Kingdom has more sites than any other country in the world – 168 individual locations, and 7 specifically in Wales.

The nearest Ramsar Site to the Llynfi Valley is the Crmlyn Bog near to Swansea. Although there are not designated Ramsar Sites within the Llynfi Valley, the Maesteg Rivercare Group is looking to establish a small wetland habitat as part of their river care of the Llynfi River. The group works to promote the importance and benefit of a clean river environment, whilst striving to encourage residents to change their attitudes and behaviour to the River. As part of this, the Group run projects to plants shrubs, flowers and wild plants along accessible stretches of banks, enhancing the River environment for the public and development of species.

We wish you all a very happy World Wetlands Day! For more information about World Wetlands Day visit:

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Eco Llynfi QR Codes

There are plans for a trial of innovative and engaging interpretation in the Llynfi Valley. The Eco Llynfi team will produce 10 QR Code ceramic plaques (similar to the pictured) for notable environmental sites in the Llynfi Valley. Read on below to find out how they will link the physical world to the virtual world…

QR Code

Technology for smart phones and portable devices

QR Codes are multi-dimensional barcodes. When ‘scanned’ with either a Smartphone or portable device, you are transported to a world of online content – usually a website – that the ‘code’ is linked to. The QR Code technology is regularly used in advertising campaigns to link users to more information on products. You often see them on the back of train tickets, bus timetables, business cards or even buildings. QR Codes are now increasingly seen as an innovative type of educational or cultural interpretation, giving added value to the visitor experience of an area.

Successful examples in Wales

A notable example of QR Codes is in Monmouth where Monmouthshire County Council has linked up with the online encyclopedia Wikipedia for the project ‘Monmouthpedia’. Over 1,000 special Wikipedia QR Code plaques have been produced and are now located on notable features and stories of Monmouth. When scanning the code, the user is directed to a Wikipedia encyclopedia page on the applicable feature or story. By storing within the code a link to a Wikipedia page for the item / place / story information can be derived to the user instantly creating what is effectively a self guided tour of Monmouth. The same will soon be happening in Maesteg…

Taking it forward from 5th February

The Eco Llynfi team will be asking different groups of the Eco Llynfi Community where they think the first ten QR Codes should be located and what information they could link up to at our first Engagement Meeting at Maesteg Comprehensive at 4pm on 5th February. The important thing for QR Code projects is that the online content is worthwhile and interesting for the user. To ensure this, at the Engagement Meeting we’ll be asking the community to start developing ideas for what should be included and of interest to visitors and residents wanting to find out more about the Llynfi Valley online.

What projects or special areas of the Llynfi Valley do you think should have new interpretation? Give us your thoughts by commenting below, Tweeting @EcoLlynfi, or by email:

Posted in Caerau Market Garden, Caerau Park Estate, Eco Llynfi, Eco Llynfi QR Codes, Maesteg Rivercare, Maesteg Welfare Park, Western Valleys Woodland Opportunities | 5 Comments

Proposals for Maesteg Welfare Park

Maesteg Welfare Park has always been the site of public gardens and recreation, originally developed and funded by the families of miners in the 1930’s. Today the Welfare Park hosts the annual Party in the Park fundraiser organised by the Garnwen Trust.

Today the active Friends of Maesteg Welfare Park group are progressing a number of improvement projects for the park.

Current plans include improvements to access and circulation with the creation of new routes allowing access to new areas of the park and a new 10 metre span bridge, both of which highlighting biodiversity. The proposals also seek to develop Sustainable Urban Drainage in the park through the implementation of ponds and wetland scrapes. The ponds will create better management of water during heavy rainfall and also provide new habitats. Proposals for the next phase of developments at the Welfare Park have been submitted to the planning department and can be seen at P/12/877/BCB on Bridgend County Borough Council’s website. The proposals aim to improve accessibility through the park whilst also delivering a series of habitat creation opportunities, such as scrapes, ponds, wildflower meadows and tree thinning.

Maesteg Park

The current stage of works is being progressed by Bridgend County Borough Council through funding from the Countryside Council for Wales to implement improvement works. The work is due to commence on site shortly and will be completed by the end of March 2013.

To find out more about the project or to get involved please contact the Friends directly, or get in touch with the Eco Llynfi project team at:

What do you think of the proposals…? Leave a comment!

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Welcome to Eco Llynfi

Eco Llynfi began in November 2012 as a way of connecting local groups and organisations working to new ways of managing and appreciating the natural environment.

To get the work started with Bridgend County Borough Council working with Valleys to Coast and the Forestry Commission, with support from Welsh Government funding, to support a number of local groups in progressing site specific projects as well as helping the local community learn about habitats, management techniques and develop ideas and momentum for future projects. The groups involved in the project include:

– Maesteg Rivercare Group;
– Friends of Maesteg Welfare Park;
– Groundwork;
– Caerau Market Garden and
– Friends of Brynheulog

The project team has led a number of familiarisation events with various representatives of these groups, for example pictured in Oakwood and at Maesteg Welfare Park, and have began to develop project proposals. Updates from the various projects will be posted regularly and more information can be found on the links to the right.

As part of the commission a series of workshops and educational sessions are planned for early 2013 led by Hyder Consulting. These sessions will provide feedback and useful learning material for the community to continue to connect the Llynfi Valley through biodiversity projects.

The project builds upon other work which is continuing in the Llynfi Valley, details of which are provided under the ‘Project Community’ of the site.

To keep up to date with project progress please follow us on Twitter or sign up to site updates.

To find out more about the project or to get involved please contact please contact the groups directly or get in touch with Project Team on:

Posted in Caerau Market Garden, Caerau Park Estate, Eco Llynfi, Maesteg Rivercare, Maesteg Welfare Park, Western Valleys Woodland Opportunities | Leave a comment