Machinery and equipment which was left with Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) for safekeeping while new management arrangements were put in place at Kenfig National Nature Reserve have been returned.
The equipment, which had been stored in readiness, includes a tractor, two lawnmowers, assorted signage, boxes of tools, branded reserve clothing including hoodies, and even a large model of the former Island Farm POW camp that was previously displayed within the reserve building.
The local authority’s management of the reserve came to an end on 31 December 2019 when the reserve’s owners, the Kenfig Corporation Trust, took on the responsibility for running it alongside Natural Resources Wales.
The trust, which appointed a new warden earlier in the year, has plans to reopen the visitor centre and establish an all-new café as well as using the building as a venue for holding new local events.
The first of these events – a wedding fayre – will take place on 11 September.
Cllr Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration and the council’s Biodiversity Champion, said: “We are delighted to return this equipment now that the trust has a team in place to manage the site.
“While we are no longer involved in the overall site management, the council continues to be involved through the Sands of LIFE conservation project, which runs until December 2022.
“That project is led by Natural Resources Wales and is recreating natural movement in the dunes and rejuvenating habitats which are home to some of the rarest wildlife.
“I’m pleased to report that the trustees have agreed to be represented on the BCBC Coastal Partnership and our Destination Management Group. This will ensure regular lines of communication and help maintain a productive relationship between the council and stakeholders entrusted with the heritage, archaeology, ecology and tourist potential of this important site.
“Covering around 1,300 acres, Kenfig National Nature Reserve features a mix of coastal dunes and wetland environments, and is rightly regarded as one of the finest examples of a sand dune habitat in Europe.
“Home to several rare species of animal and plant such as the Great Crested Newt, Shrill Carder Bee and Fen Orchid, it was once part of a massive belt of sand which ran all the way from the Ogmore Estuary to the Gower Peninsula, and attracts visitors and scientists from all over the world.
“The equipment which the council has been looking after is going to be of major use in ensuring that the reserve can continue to be maintained as one of Bridgend County Borough’s best-loved locations.”