The Vale of Glamorgan Council is considering introducing tourist attractions – including a zip-wire run and camping sites – in forest areas on the outskirts of Penarth.
It’s a little-known fact that the Vale Council owns 2 sizeable forests in the Leckwith area – a 142 acre forest locally known as “Leckwith Woods” and, nearby, a second 109 acre forest called “Cwm Cydfin Woods”.
Leckwith Woods has been under the ownership of the Vale Council since 1996 and is managed by the council under plans approved by Natural Resources Wales.
The Leckwith Woods already has a formal public right of way and recently this has been enlarged by the development of a wide “timber extraction track” .
The Vale Council says that owing to the close proximity to Cardiff and the M4, “the site potentially has high value with regard to development in relation to outdoor activities such as Zip wires, high rope course, mountain bike trails and other activities such as camping pods that have a low impact on the site`s ecology and appearance.”
The council also reports that Leckwith Woods requires “continued management to ensure that all trees abutting highways are managed in accordance with health and safety guidelines. There are considerable resource implications on the Council due to these factors.” and claims s that’s why it needs to generate income to cover the costs of managing the site. [ There is no reference in the report to any revenue generated by forestry operations and the commercial sales of council-owned timber].
The zip wires and other attractions at Leckwith Woods would not “require the whole area of woodland” but would use “natural pathways” and “selected small-scale areas” amounting to no more than about 20 acres.
The council says “Countryside sites within the Vale of Glamorgan are seen as destination venues for both residents and tourists. They are pivotal in attracting tourists and vital to the local economy, however they constantly need to adapt to the needs of users. The
development of new sustainable activities/attractions will improve the offer to users
and encourage greater footfall and have a direct impact on the future development of
the Vale of Glamorgan as a destination venue, benefiting the local economy and
The council notes that “environmental considerations will need to be taken into full account before any agreement is reached. and that “Any successful proposal may need to obtain appropriate detailed planning consent whilst meeting any recommendations or requirements made by Natural Resources Wales and other statutory consultees.”
The council doesn’t intend to invest in any such activities itself, but is considering entering into a “series of agreements with third parties”.
NEW COSMESTON CAMPING SITE
In addition to the two forest sites at Leckwith another camp site is being considered for potential development at Cosmeston Country Park .
This is a 4 acre plot within what’s called a a semi improved field system of 35 acres in size approximately 35 acres in size and lies to the south west of the country park adjacent to Lavernock Road. The council says that “due to the site`s seclusion and its close proximity to Penarth and Cardiff it has high potential as an area for development as a possible camping pod site”.
However the Vale Council’s new proposals for Leckwith Woods and Cosmeston Country Park aren’t being universally welcomed. One insider said “There is a depressing mind-set amongst some Vale of Glamorgan Council officers who just can’t leave natural countryside alone.”