GWENT parks and heritage sites will receive a share of more than £6.6 million as part of a project designed to boost the potential of natural and cultural assets in south Wales.

They are among 11 such sites to be named as Discovery Gateways for the Valleys Regional Park, the aim of which is to generate social, economic and environmental benefits.

South Wales Argus:

Parc Bryn Bach, near Tredegar (above), will receive £500,000 to improve its bunkhouse and visitor centre, provide a new wooden play area, and improve active travel routes linking the park to local communities.

South Wales Argus:

Cwmcarn Forest Drive (above) will develop a shared space for lifelong learning, an integrated office space with wi-fi - that can be used by the community - and landscape interpretation points and 'discovery' trails, with £450,000 of funding.

South Wales Argus:

Blaenavon World Heritage Centre (above) will receive £180,000 to have its interpretation facilities updated to promote the industrial heritage across the Valleys as well as highlighting cycling and walking trails.

Local trails, including signs and way markers, will be developed, and local nature reserves improved, with promoted walking routes from the centre.

Parc Penallta will receive £900,000 for the development of a visitor centre in the south of the park.

South Wales Argus:

There will also be £150,000 for Caerphilly Castle (above), building on a wider programme of CADW investment.

Six other sites across south Wales will also benefit from the funding package, from the Welsh Government's Valleys Taskforce. They are: Cefn Coed Mining Museum (£1.8m); Dare Valley Country Park (£803,602); Cyfartha Park (£700,000); Bryngarw Country Park (£500,000); Parc Slip (£400,000), Ynysangharad War Memorial Park (£296,398).

Investment in Discovery Gateways sites is considered crucial to ensuring they have the capacity to provide safe and welcoming spaces that can be enjoyed by local communities and visitors from further afield.

“As well as becoming destinations in their own right, Discovery Gateways have a great opportunity to tell the stories of the Valleys and encourage local people and visitors to explore the surrounding areas, including local towns and villages, and the wider landscape," said First Minister Mark Drakeford.

Deputy minister for economy with responsibility for the Valleys Taskforce, Lee Waters AM, said the aim is for the projects to put the idea of a Valleys Regional Park on the map nationally and internationally, "as a place which can inspire, excite and attract visitors from near and far".

"They will also provide opportunities for economic growth which is a key aim of the Valleys Taskforce," he said.

“These plans have been developed through extensive engagement with Valleys communities, and I look forward to continuing to work together to bring the Valleys Regional Park to life.”