Ynysowen is one of many villages in Wales that has grown a disconnect between its people and the land, despite being surrounded by nature few in the community enjoy it often. These natural spaces are unadvertised and remain unknown to a significant number of people. This is due to a lack of accessibility, work or education, and other priorities pushing connection with our environment aside.
The land we hope to enhance is an undervalued area of natural beauty. This is an attempt to shift its use in a way that benefits all, in addition to creating a true sense of ownership. The land locally known as Patsy’s Fieldfeatures a large meadow that leads to a riverbank and is surrounded by diverse woodland. We plan to provide a space that is accessible and welcoming, where the community and its visitors can explore, connect and learn from each other and their surroundings. We hope to help people to discover the culture, history, and folk traditions that comes hand in hand with this beautiful landscape.
Managing the land and woodland itself will provide an excellent opportunity to extend the skill base of passionate locals; from propagation, coppicing, monitoring and maintaining soil conditions, and other environmental sessions. These activities have been proven to improve health, wellbeing and create a much needed sense of community cohesion. The much used walking path will be extended and improved to create a looping trail of Patsy’s Field that allows visitors to easily tour the features of the area. There are boundless opportunities to promote volunteering through growing and woodland activity groups, natural creative activities, and conservation and habitat improvement. Our desire to improve local biodiversity by protecting new and existing habitats of conservational value, such as those of hedgehogs, bats, birds etc. lends itself extensive learning through forest schools, social and creative activities. Most recently the land has been used as a temporary experiential education, exploration and activity zone for local families, the summer of 2021 saw some of the most successful events on the plot in recent years. A wide range of activities were provided, woodland exploration, plant, insect & tree identification, foraging, and cultural reconnection sessions. These sessions were well received and were a perfect way to bridge the gap and reunite children from local Welsh and English medium schools. The construction of an educational structure that could regularly host such events and more intimate groups, would reinvigorate a disused space and provide educational opportunities on subjects that are frequently overlooked, despite the growing interest and benefits to modern youth. The education centre will be a perfect space for local experts, trainers and visiting tutors to host classes and courses, improving alternative learning resources in the area, as well as inspiring new found passions for our environment.