A spectacular Woodland Play Tower has been completed in Neath’s Gnoll Estate Country Park – the early 18th Century landscaped attraction which covers around 100 acres.
The children’s tower will add to existing features including lakeside and woodland walks, restored formal cascades, a grotto, a coarse fishery, ponds, play areas including an adventure playground and a visitor centre.
The development of the Play Tower is part of a £4.2m programme of ‘clean-up and green up’ improvements to towns, valleys and villages approved by Neath Port Talbot Council’s Rainbow Coalition.
The programme includes £200,000 for improvements at public toilets, £445,000 on cleanliness (involving new electric street vacuums and sweepers), £142,000 on improved grass mowing, £800,000 on improved playgrounds and green spaces and £300,000 on improved bus shelters.
A further £344,000 is earmarked for footbridge maintenance, £201,000 for improved waste services (including extra vehicles), just over £1m for improved highways (jet patching of rural lanes, extra surfacing in the valleys and pothole fixing machinery) and £150,000 on additional tree management work.
Further money has been set aside for improvements at Gnoll Country Park (including the Play Tower), £50,000 will be used for improving countryside structures and £290,000 will be for ad-hoc improvements at the Aberavon Seafront (including the sunken gardens), Neath Town Centre (planters and storage) and repair/replacement of town and valley street signs. The money comes from additional Welsh Government funding and the council’s approved spending programme.
Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Streetscene, Cllr Scott Jones, said: “The programme of clean up and green up projects aimed at improving the look of our country borough was given the go ahead by the coalition in December last year.
“It’s good to see projects are now starting to come through and being completed including this Play Tower which will be yet another attraction for the popular Gnoll Country Park.”
Gnoll Estate Country Park is also to benefit from £10.8m of Levelling Up Fund money granted by the UK Government earlier this year.
The project will improve and restore existing heritage features at Gnoll Park and will also develop on-site visitor accommodation in a series of measures.
These include conserving and opening up access to important heritage features including Gnoll House cellars and cascades, diversifying the play offer, modernising the visitor centre and café, enhancing biodiversity and nature conservation and physical links with the neighbouring Woodland Trust site and improving car parking provision (incorporating EV charging facilities).