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New cycle path could run through wooded Swansea valley

Penllergare Valley Woods (Pic: Visit Swansea Bay)

PLANS for a cycle path through a wooded Swansea valley are being discussed by the group which manages it this week.

Swansea Council wants to create a shared-use path through Penllergare Valley Woods, Penllergaer. It would start at the entrance off the A48 and run south for just under two miles to Parc Fforestfach.

The council has recently completed a shared-use path linking Penllergaer with Gorseinon, although it hasn’t gone down well with some residents, and wants to improve links for cyclists in the county. It has recently submitted plans for shared-use path in Gowerton, running behind Gowerton Primary School.

The Penllergare Valley Woods application will be scrutinised by the Penllergare Trust, which looks after the 250-acre estate, at a meeting on January 25. The scheme has been revised so that the shared-use path would follow the estate’s former carriage drive rather than a lower trail.

Penllergare Valley Woods is a grade two registered historic park and garden – a once thriving country estate with exotic plants, an observatory and mansion house which fell decline in the 20th Century. The mansion house was blown up by the Army as part of an exercise in 1961 to be replaced by council offices, which themselves have been demolished to make way for houses.

The trust has restored much of the landscape since 2000, adding trails and restoring lakes, and has been busy of late building a new visitor centre. Trustees will discuss an updated heritage impact assessment, which was commissioned by the council, at Thursday’s meeting.

The heritage report acknowledged the group’s “exceptional conservation work”, and said the proposed three-metre wide shared-use path would not result in any notable change to the wooded valley, although the path’s modern surface would differ to what it was now. It said: “The proposed works would improve access to Penllergare and as a result bring the heritage to the experience of a greater number of people.”

Alice Davies, of Sketty, who walks her dog at Penllergare Valley Woods from time to time and is also a keen cyclist, said of the proposal: “There are plenty of trails if you want to get away from bikes and let your dog off the lead, and anything that joins up cycle routes and makes active travel easier and safer has got to be a good thing.”

The council’s separate application in Gowerton would create a shared-use path from Fford Beck to Pont-Y-Cob Road, thereby avoiding the tight Pont-Y-Cob junction with the B4295. This route is popular with cyclists heading from Swansea to Loughor and Llanelli. Both applications will be determined in due course by the council.