Elan Links scheme begins
A five-year £3.3 million investment for the Elan Valley has launched which aims to secure Elan Valley’s natural and cultural heritage and increase benefits and opportunities for locals and visitors.
The Elan Links scheme, funded by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Elan Valley Trust and Dŵr Cymru, will safeguard the unique and varied heritage of the Elan Valley and enhance the area for the long-term. In total 26 projects will be delivered from 2018. These will be managed by a partnership board including the Elan Valley Trust, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, Tir Coed, Community Arts Rhayader and District (CARAD) and National Resources Wales.
Dr Ieuan Joyce, Chair of Elan Valley Trust and the Elan Links scheme, said: “The Elan Valley is a special place with a unique landscape, story and history. This scheme recognises the importance of the landscape of the Elan Valley to local people, our many visitors and those who drink the clean, pure water produced here. The start of this scheme will go a long way towards realising our long-term vision of working with local people and all who care about the area to secure this heritage for the future.”
A special event to mark the launch of the scheme will take place on 24 March at Elan Valley Visitor Centre. The event will give people the opportunity to hear about the scheme directly from those involved, along with having a bus tour around the area to find out more detail on the projects. Further information and details on how to book the bus tour are available at www.elanvalley.org.uk/elanlinks.
The scheme will be delivered across four themes: celebrating heritage, enjoying Elan, experience and education and enhancing wildlife and nature. Projects include increasing access to archaeological and built heritage sites including the half built Dol y Mynach dam, World War II pillboxes and the Roman Marching Camp; improving existing walking routes and creating new routes for walking/running, cycling and horse riding; activity days and training courses which promote woodland career strands and protecting rare birds and species found in the vast uplands of Elan Valley.
The scheme itself has been in development since 2013, since being awarded a Round One development grant by HLF. During this phase, the threats and opportunities to the unique landscape of Elan Valley and all aspects of heritage within it have been assessed and a Landscape Conservation Action Plan developed. This led to the identification of the 26 projects and resulted in HLF approving the Elan Links scheme, granting an award of £1,627,400.
Dr Joyce continued: “An investment of this size will make a real difference to Elan Valley, Rhayader and the wider communities. We’re delighted that the we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players.”
Cath Allan, Co-Director of CARAD, said: “The launch of this scheme highlights the importance of Elan Valley and Rhayader. Through this exciting partnership the cultural heritage and arts of the area can be promoted and used to show people what’s available on their doorstep and also develop more opportunities for people when they visit the area.”
Vicky Martin, Head of Visitor Attraction at Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, said: “This is a really exciting initiative that will bring enormous environmental, social and economic benefits to the spectacular Elan Valley area. This scheme is a great example of the power of working in partnership and will enable us to enhance the visitor experience and continue to exceed our visitors’ expectations.”
Richard Bellamy, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Wales, said: “Stunning landscapes like the Elan Valley define the very character of Wales and are as much a part of who we are as our castles, language and rugby. They are very much loved by the people who call Wales home as by the tens of thousands of tourists who visit them. What is particularly interesting with the Elan Links scheme is that it celebrates the connections between communities through its water story and in doing so will provide fantastic training and learning opportunities for a wide range of people – it will be a great scheme for the area and further afield.”
Leila Sharland, Director at Tir Coed, said: “The opportunities available for people at to undertake life changing Tir Coed training courses as part of the Elan Links Scheme are welcomed. Getting involved in our free woodland training can make a huge difference to people in our communities who may be struggling. It is exciting to be offering these in the Powys area at the spectacular Elan Valley.”
Linda Ashton, Senior Partnership, Access & Recreation Officer for Natural Resources Wales, said: “The unique environment and heritage of the Elan Valley is special and has numerous designations to protect the habitats and wildlife within it. Our aim, through this funding and work with our partners, is to ensure nature can thrive in this fantastic area of Wales for people to continue to enjoy for years to come.”
Further details of the scheme, its projects and the progress over the next five years can be found at the Elan Links website: www.elanvalley.org.uk/elanlinks.