A RUN-DOWN patch of land in south Monmouthshire is well on the way to becoming a beauty spot to be proud of.

Work to redevelop the land around the old railway sidings area of the Severn Tunnel Junction started in November last year. Now hundreds of saplings have been planted and a small car park and lake, paths and meadows are beginning to take shape.

Although the project is expected to take a further three-and-a-half years to complete, local county councillor Gerald Robbins (pictured) said people are pleased with what is being created.

Councillor Robbins, of Grenville Terrace, Rogiet, said: "The ideas for the countryside park came from all the people in the communities. and included children and youths right through to older citizens.

"People who have visited the site have told me how much more better it now looks than it did before but they also look to the future when it will be a splendid asset for the community.

"Everybody is calling it the Countryside Leisure Park because in effect that is what it will be.

"It will provide a wonderful opportunity in the area for relaxation and when the whole scheme has been fully developed it will provide a welcoming visual aspect to people coming into Wales via the railway and motorway."

The countryside park will span the wards of Caldicot, Magor, Rogiet and Undy and cover 30 acres.

The total cost of the project is expected to be more than £500,000. The £250,000 phase one part of the project has entailed the removing of 16,000 cubic metres of earth and reclaiming and landscaping the area around the marshalling yards which were closed almost 20 years ago.

Phase two will concentrate on an area south of the station. Work there will include re-modelling the site to create screening and a 'play wood'. Later phases of the scheme will involve work at the Magor end of the site.