Wide muddy highways of ‘devastation’ appear in beautiful woods

Wide, muddy highways have appeared through Caswell Valley causing plenty of concern from people who saw pictures of them on social media.

The images show large areas of vegetation erased to be replaced with muddy ‘roads’ full of large puddles and little else.

A post about the mystery on Facebook described it as ‘absolute devastation’ and there was much reaction, with people saying it looked ‘a mess’ and ‘horrendous’.

Others thought it might perhaps be the latest stretch of the HS2 railway project, or a new runway access.

But, rather than being part of some rather off-course Brazilian-style rainforest destruction project, the work is actually part of a scheme to preserve a popular walking route through a nature reserve.

Caswell Valley is a popular venue for families but has also attracted large gatherings of youths, who don’t always take away the mess they create.

The pathways leading to the roundhouse in the heart of the valley have, however, this year witnessed torrents of water running down the existing pathway due to heavy rainfall, washing away sections of the route and, on occasion, preventing access to the visitor facility.

Nature and conservation officers for Swansea Council have now come up with an environmentally friendly, sustainable scheme, to help improve the walking routes and slow the flow of water through the valley.

David Hopkins, cabinet member for delivery and operations, said: “The impact heavy rainfall has been having on Bishop’s Wood Local Nature Reserve has been a concern of ours for some time.

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“We have carried out several visits previously to carry out repairs to the walking route immediately following heavy rain and we needed to look at a more long term sustainable solution which would help protect the nature reserve and maintain access for the many visitors who use this route, particularly those with mobility problems and wheelchair users.

“It’s vital that the scheme we implement is environmentally friendly, sustainable and helps maintain the special qualities of the Nature Reserve.

“I’m confident that the planned scheme will enhance the area and continue to provide a much-loved place for walkers.”

There was concern after wide ‘highways’ appeared in a popular woods
(Image: Pierre Donahue)
The valley can experience torrents of water when rainfall is heavy
(Image: Pierre Donahue)

The scheme on Gower involves using nature-based solutions to slow the travel of water down the valley by creating small shallow ponds along the way.

Old tree trunks will also be used to create natural dams.

The scheme to protect the route, which stretches from Caswell Bay car park through to Bishop’s Wood nature reserve, and which includes access to the roundhouse, has been made possible thanks to £30,000 Welsh Government funding.

WalesOnline – Swansea