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Woodland fenced off by housing association will remain out of bounds for foreseeable future

07 Jul 2024 3 minute read
Metal fencing placed at an entrance to Garw Wood, Croesyceiliog by Bron Afon housing association.

Twm Owen, local democracy reporter

A woodland fenced off after children used it as a bike track will remain out of bounds for the foreseeable future.

Housing bosses said trees in the ancient woodland had been damaged and that the ecology had been disturbed – and also claimed litter had to be removed from the area.

It has also been confirmed the area that runs between homes in a residential area of Cwmbran, along with others owned by the Bron Afon housing association, have been put forward for potential inclusion as part of a national forest for Wales.

Metal fencing

Bron Afon placed metal fencing at the entrance to Garw Wood in Croesyceiliog, Cwmbran in June after children had cleared parts of the wood and used it as a bike park.

The housing association has now confirmed it has no immediate plans to remove the fencing and that it needs to allow the wood to recover and consider its future use before access is restored.

A child’s using a ramp to make a jump on their bike in Garw Wood.

It said: “Garw Wood is fenced off until further notice, while we look at ways to make it safe and accessible and assess what suitable measures we can take to allow the wood to recover.”

It also said it wants the site to help form part of the National Forest Wales, a Welsh Government initiative intended to protect and promote new areas of tree cover.

Replant

Bron Afon said: “We are working with Torfaen Council to replant trees in the wood this autumn and winter as part of their Branching Out project, and are liaising with their ecologists to consider installing staggered wooden fencing in the area.

“The site is also planned to be a candidate site for inclusion in the National Forest Wales in addition to other Bron Afon sites, with a draft application submitted last month.

“Since 2019, we have been working closely with local residents, who in turn have been involved in woodland management for over a decade, to improve the long-term ecology of the wood. We are also looking at the possibility of setting up educational woodland activity for residents.”

Local resident Robin Willis, who lives at Garw Wood Drive adjacent to the wood, and whose children were among those to use the area as a bike park said he hadn’t been persuaded by the housing association the use as a bike park was unsuitable.

Derelict land

He said: “It was just derelict land with all ferns and brambles over six foot high and a dumping ground. When I moved in five years ago I took out god knows how many black bags of rubbish, it needed a skip.”

Mr Willis said he was also concerned about the stability of some of the trees and said the woodland was “an absolute nightmare” as he had to regularly clear drains and guttering due to leaves.

He added there is a lack of space for children to ride bikes if the woods are closed to them: “They haven’t got anywhere else to go. There is a skate park about two miles down the road and if they ride on the rugby, football pitch they get shouted at.”


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Evan Aled Bayton
Evan Aled Bayton
6 days ago

One man’s wasteland is another’s ecological project. This illustrates that free access to land in Britain south of the Highlands is limited by intense land use. Sadly the freedoms previous generations may have enjoyed are reduced by population density. However ownership and use of woods has always been a source of conflict as you can see if you read Nathan Roger’s book “Some Account of Monmouthshire” which is a disguised rant about the loss of rights and access to Wentwood when Charles 1 sold it to the Marquess of Worcester.

Austin
Austin
6 days ago

While I understand his frustration at being barred from what ideally would be community woodland, I feel frustrated by how he describes it as derelict and overgrown… We’re in the middle of a biodiversity crisis for God’s sake.
Somehow we need to impress the importance of nature for nature’s sake and teach our children how to enjoy wilder spaces while being responsible stewards.

A Lloyd-Phillips
A Lloyd-Phillips
5 days ago

Children should be allowed to express their skills of engineering and be able to play in the woodland, they seem to be quite safe and enjoying them selves. I’m shur if someone came along to cut the woodland down they would stand in front of the bulldozers to stop them from destroying their area of enjoyment.

A Lloyd-Phillips
A Lloyd-Phillips
5 days ago

When I was young I lived opposite a woodland area and used to play, build dens, climb trees and generally enjoy the woodland. One day a councillor decided to send bulldozers in to make an adventure play park on it, but I was there to stop them by standing in front and shouting I threw a few stones (I know that is wrong now) until the man got out and promised not to do anymore damage and he went and didn’t come back. The woodland is still there and is now a sight of scientific interest.

Last edited 5 days ago by A Lloyd-Phillips

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