A VIBRANT community and natural habitats are now thriving on what used to be one of the biggest heavy industry sites in Newport.

Glan Llyn is a housing estate on what used to be Llanwern Steelworks where St Modwen Homes are building hundreds of new properties.

The new development is surrounded by 80 acres of open space, including parks and three lakes.

And now natural habitats are reclaiming the site that once produced tonnes of world-class steel, with the local community enjoying the local wildlife.

South Wales Argus:

Families taking part is a community planting event in Glan Llyn

Last Saturday, residents of Glan Llyn came together to celebrate the arrival of spring, with the launch of the development’s nature trail and the planting of a new sensory garden. 

Gwent Wildlife Trust was on hand to provide insight on local flora and fauna, and children took part in wildlife-themed craft activities.

Communities at St Modwen sites across Wales also planted trees for the Queen’s Green Canopy, part of a nationwide event to mark the Platinum Jubilee.

South Wales Argus:

Trees being planted for the Queen's jubilee

Junior nature enthusiasts were challenged to guide themselves through the trail from the development’s Western Pools to Western Park, using an activity sheet to identify some of the diverse wildlife on their doorstep.  With the wildlife-rich pond area at Glan Llyn designated a Site of Interest for Nature Conservation (SINC), the environment provides a range of habitats for plenty of wildfowl and wetland critters.

Children enjoyed interacting with an expert from the Gwent Wildlife Trust, whose bird books were a particular hit. They were then able to put their new-found knowledge into action at a wildlife-themed craft table, with a bird-drawing activity producing plenty of creative and colourful images.

Families at Glan Llyn also took part in the planting of the development’s new sensory garden, under the guidance of a landscape gardener provided by Glan Llyn Estate Management Company.  Designed to stimulate residents’ senses with objects and plants drawing on touch, sight, scent, and hearing, the garden will be a calming space for the community to enjoy for years to come.

South Wales Argus:

The former LLanwern Steelworks in Newport

Llanwern Steelworks in Newport produced world-class steel on an epic scale with the plant stretching at least four miles along the main-line railway.

Costing a massive £150m, the steelworks were officially opened by the Queen on October 25, 1962. When it was officially opened there were more than 13,000 workers and contractors at the site. It continued to be one of the main employers in Newport for generations.

Today, more than 850 homes have been delivered to date at the development, alongside community facilities including a primary school, pub, and a park.  There are also footpaths and cycle routes throughout the development, enabling schoolchildren and residents to enjoy the nature on their doorstep.

Rob Magee, youth engagement officer at Gwent Wildlife Trust, said: “Gwent Wildlife Trust was pleased to be a part of this event and to provide insight on the wildlife and habitats at Glan Llyn to the local community.  Wildlife rich, accessible green space is essential to our health and wellbeing and to enhancing biodiversity in new development.  It’s great to see St. Modwen delivering green spaces for the benefit of people and ecology.”

Lucinda Clason-Thomas, resident portfolio manager at St. Modwen, said: “It’s been great to see residents at St. Modwen sites across Wales come together to celebrate the flourishing nature in their local communities.  Protecting and supporting ecology at Glan Llyn and Coed Darcy will be vital for creating sustainable new places, and we want to continue adding to the local biodiversity of these brilliant areas.  We’re glad that residents have been able to create a new piece of the landscape that they’ll be able to enjoy for many years to come.”