£2m lottery grant to restore Penllergare Valley Woods

image captionJohn Dillwyn Llewelyn developed the estate with lakes and waterfall from 1839

More than £2m will be spent restoring a once neglected valley and woodland on the edge of Swansea which a group has been trying to save for over a decade.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant will help to safeguard the future of historic Penllergare Valley Woods.

John Dillwyn Llewelyn, a 19th Century horticulturist and early photographer, developed the woods on his estate.

The Penllergare Trust, which is made up of volunteers, welcomed the news the bid for funding has been successful.

Trust chair Hal Moggridge said the grant will "lay strong foundations for the future, sustainable upkeep" of the estate.

The money will be used to restore the Grade II listed landscape, which includes lakes, a waterfall and observatory, to its former glory - and create five jobs.

Located north of Swansea, the woods were once a famous gentry estate and home to Llewelyn, a philanthropist, whose "design, vision and influence" is said by the HLF to be behind the landscapes described as picturesque and romantic.

For almost 50 years, according to the HLF, it was "neglected, vandalised and threatened by development".

But The Penllergare Trust was formed in 2000 as an independent charity to restore and regenerate the area.

The trust is supported by volunteers, as well as the Friends of Penllergare, with 180 members.

It is hoped another 250 people will get involved, receiving training including woodland skills to help with the restoration.

Volunteers will help run community events, open days, guided walks and photography competitions.

The funding will pay for visitor facilities as it is hoped the woodland will become a big tourism attraction once the restoration is complete.

The site is home to an astronomical observatory, built by Llewelyn, which will also be restored.

The money will fund the building of a old stone bridge as a fully accessible river crossing, the restoration of the upper lake and the replanting of trees and ornamental shrubberies.

Five jobs will be created through the project, including positions for an estate manager, woodlands warden and activities and events officer.

The Penllergare Trust was awarded a grant £221,300 by the HLF in June 2009 to develop their plans for the project.

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