A PRECIOUS piece of parkland near Blackwood is being given a new lease of life by volunteers - and residents will have the chance to to take a look at the fruits of those labours this half term.

Cefn Fforest Eco Park - a 12-acre strip of green belt along the western border of Cefn Fforest, between it and Pengam - boasts grassland and woodland, and is a popular spot for dog walkers.

But it has been popular too in recent times, says Chris Edwards, secretary of the Friends of Cefn Fforest Eco Park, as a place for drug taking and drinking, a situation that required action.

Thankfully, that action is yielding wonderful results - for the eco park is being quietly transformed, spruced up in recent weeks by a team from Groundwork Wales who have worked through the soggy late autumn and winter.

South Wales Argus:

The refurbished pond at Cefn Fforest Eco Park. From left, Friends group members Tom Williams, Sue Carey, Chris Edwards, and Chris Hawker, with Ros Nicholls and Ellie Whitfield of Groundwork Wales. Picture: www.christinsleyphotography.co.uk

"They have done amazing work," said Mrs Edwards.

"They have uncovered a drystone wall, put steps in the woodland, found a pond, and built a walkway, among a lot of other very hard work.

"Residents and dog walkers who have seen it have said they are doing wonders, and it is beginning to look like a beautiful spot."


Mrs Edwards said that, approaching 20 years ago, the friends group was set up with the aim of preserving the land as open space.

They approached Caerphilly council and were granted lease for 25 years provided the site was maintained.

"A lot of work was done, but it had deteriorated. There was a problem with drugs and people drinking," said Mrs Edwards.

"During the past 18 months, things have really got going again. We've tried so hard, and thought these problems had to stop.

South Wales Argus:

Ellie Whitfield and Ros Nicholls of Groundwork Wales ,at Cefn Fforest Eco Park. Picture: www.christinsleyphotography.co.uk

"We are doing our best to keep it as a park, and to preserve the flora and fauna, provide a beauty spot for the benefit of residents.

"The park has a meadow, woodland and an events field that has been used for school sports. It would be good to have it used for more community events too."

Cefn Fforest residents will have the opportunity to see how much work has been done in the park at a family fun day, organised by Groundwork Wales, this Tuesday, February 18, including a treasure hunt, woodland crafts, and tree planting.

South Wales Argus:

Cefn Fforest Eco Park committee members, and Groundwork Wales volunteers. Picture: www.christinsleyphotography.co.uk

The Friends of Cefn Fforest Eco Park are also hoping to attract some new members to help keep the park going for future generations.

"We need some more people from the community - some young blood - to get involved," said Mrs Edwards.