The Cwmdare4Cwmdare Bee Friendly Garden project in Aberdare has transformed a once abandoned piece of land into a space for wildlife to thrive, and the community to come together.
The project has been made possible with money from the Pen y Cymoedd wind farm community fund and support from the Local Places for Nature Community Packages scheme managed by Keep Wales Tidy, which provided materials, resources, and equipment to kick-start the initiative. As a result, the community has come together to restore the land and create a versatile space that can be used as a place for people to escape, as well as a venue for local events.
Secretary of the Group, Ann Crimmings, who has been involved with the development of the space, said: “The redevelopment and regeneration of the area has become a project for the whole community. From school children who have planted sunflowers, to older members of the village. Everyone has come together to help, and we have created a space that the whole community can use and enjoy.”
Although this is only the first phase of work, the garden already has bird feeders, a bird house, a hedgehog house, and plans for some bug hotels. There’s also a wildflower area to encourage bees, butterflies, and other local wildlife. We have installed raised beds to grow seasonal fruit and vegetables, as well as placing benches for people to sit and enjoy the view over the Brecon Beacons and a shed for tools and equipment.
Ann added: “I’m not a gardener but we had a vision for the space, so it has been amazing to start to see it come into fruition.
“The money from Pen y Cymoedd wind farm community fund paired with the support we’ve received from Keep Wales Tidy through the wildlife garden starter package has been fantastic. “
Ann and the team of volunteers received a pack containing bulbs, habitat boxes, shrubs and climbing plants, raised bed compost and trellis, tools, equipment like gloves and a watering can, and a handbook. This enabled the small team to clear the overgrown patch and transform it into the community space it is today.
The group have also planted some fruit trees in a small ‘orchard’ to the rear of the project and are now starting to work on plans for the next phase of the project, the front area which will include a seating area, and will be accessible to all.
In 2022, the garden was awarded ‘bee friendly’ status by the Welsh Government.
Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “Climate change is threatening our plants and wildlife. We need to protect them as much as we can.
“It’s wonderful to see people like Ann proactively making important changes to their communities and seeing the positive difference it has made for those around them.
“It just shows how by making changes together we can have a bigger impact on tackling climate change and make a real difference.”
Owen Derbyshire, CEO at Keep Wales Tidy said: “The wildlife starter pack, which is part of the Local Places for Nature Community Packages scheme, is designed to provide communities with the tools, equipment, and resources they needed to kick-start and manage their projects independently. Our handbook provides them with ideas, and our advisors provide support as and when needed. Projects like Cwmdare4Cwmdare are a great example of how small ideas can bloom into community-wide initiatives that benefit everyone involved.”