FIVE new nature reserves are set to be created in Blaenau Gwent, almost doubling the number of such sites in the area.

The areas earmarked for designation as nature reserves are Beaufort Hill Ponds and Woodland, Central Valley and Garden City - all in and around Ebbw Vale - along with Parc Bryn Bach and Sirhowy Hill Woodlands, both Tredegar.

Four of the five sites have been put forward for declaration previously, but this has been prevented due to disputed land and boundaries, which have now been resolved.

A council report says that designating the other site, Central Valley, will bring “positive regeneration” on part of the site known as The Works in Ebbw Vale.

Designation of the five sites will increase the number of nature reserves in Blaenau Gwent to 12.


Laws say that for an area to become a nature reserve, it must have natural features of special interest to the local area, and that the council "must either have a legal interest in the land or have an agreement with the owner to manage the land as a reserve".

Once declared as a nature reserve, the area is protected for the long term in the council’s Local Development Plan.

The cost of maintaining the reserves is proposed to be met with a £1.3 million Welsh Government grant which has been secured to deliver projects across Gwent with other partners.

Community groups and Gwent Wildlife Trust have pledged support for the declaration of each of the new nature reserves.

The groups hope the new status will ensure habitats and species remain protected for the future, and ensure future generations can continue to appreciate the features of the areas.

“Taking positive action for biodiversity and ecosystem resilience in Blaenau Gwent will enhance the natural resources the public utilise such as clean water, air and food production including pollination services,” a council report says.

“The natural environment is also a vital resource to enhance mental and physical health and wellbeing.”

Blaenau Gwent council’s community services scrutiny committee will consider the proposal to designate the areas as nature reserves at a meeting next Thursday, January 16.