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Poppit Marsh: ‘Access-for-all’

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forestA WONDERFUL world of wildlife has opened up for children with disabilities at Poppit Marsh, after a volunteer group teamed up with Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Rangers and Wardens to create a surfaced path. 

Since 2010 St Dogmaels Community Association Cymdeithas Llandudoch has methodically cleared 18 acres of the invasive species Himalayan balsam from its source at the head of a stream to Poppit Marsh, through which an accessible gravel footpath runs. National Park Authority North Area Warden Manager Geraint Harries said: “Authority staff repaired the path to a wheelchair standard while hardworking Cymdeithas Llandudoch volunteers systematically tackled the marshy areas where this ‘pink peril’ grows adjacent to the path.”

Gill Wislocka, a long-standing volunteer with Cymdeithas Llandudoch is delighted with the resulting facility and said: “I felt almost tearful to see families with disabled children on the new wheelchair accessible path through Poppit Marsh. “It is a joy that these children can access the marsh not as some special ‘disability’ feature but as a normal path that other families use. “Now the balsam is very much depleted, people can see the stream, the dippers, the beauty and variety of flowers and plants such as the tussock sedges.

They have also seen froglets crossing the path and heard the birdsong, which is far more varied than when this area was just a Himalayan balsam forest.” She added she had spoken to some of the visitors, who wanted to extend their thanks to the National Park Authority for creating a path which has ‘made their holiday a joy and a place they will return to’. Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority Chairman Cllr Mike James said: “We are continually working to make more and more of the beautiful Pembrokeshire Coast accessible for wheelchair users, people with pushchairs and those who are less able”. For more wheelchair accessible routes in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park log onto www. p emb r o k e s h i r e c o a s t . o r g . u k / WalksForAll.

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Community

Consider the benefits of living in a community-led housing scheme

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NO one could have missed the Extinction Rebellion protests around the world in recent months, but a little-known low-impact eco-community in Pembrokeshire is also working hard to spread the sustainability message.

The Brithdir Mawr community grow their own food, generate their own electricity and provide low cost rented housing, as well as sharing ideas, resources and skills with people who want to learn more.

More than 100 people have lived there over the past quarter of a century and the current residents have an innovative way of living.

One such resident is Lea Trainer. He moved here a few months ago and feels the move has changed his family’s life for the better after he left his job as a project manager in London: “My wife Kirsty and children Brianna and Frankie have been here since June but the community has been around for more than 25 years. My wife brought the children here last year for an educational trip and they were texting me about birds and insect-spotting and I had a bit of an epiphany.

“Our life is incomparable to before. We now live a lower impact life and have reduced our footprint on the Earth. I’m learning all the time about nature, renewable energy. It’s fantastic to be part of a community contributing towards the development of a regenerative culture, farming using organic methods and preserving and increasing biodiversity.

Living at Brithdir Mawr has also brought personal benefits to Lea: “Now I can spend quality time with my children and my wife. I’ve already noticed a real difference in the children. They have really developed their personalities and freedom of expression. They know much more about nature and have really come out of their shells in the time that we’ve been here.”

“Each day is different here. We do all meet as a community at 11 for coffee and then again for dinner. Some people have part-time jobs, others will tend to the garden and our children are home-schooled. We have a community day each week where we do activities together, like apple-picking.”

Brithdir Mawr is being supported by the Wales Co-operative Centre, which has been supporting and championing the growth of co-operative and community-led housing since 2012. In April this year, it launched its Communities Creating Homes programme which aims to stimulate demand for community-led housing throughout Wales. The programme is funded by the Nationwide Foundation and Welsh Government.

With more than 30 schemes already in place across Wales, communities can be created for various purposes and shared visions. Where some schemes have been created to make housing more affordable for residents, others have been developed for people who want improved eco-friendly lifestyles.

Meanwhile, Brithdir Mawr community is planning for the future. It has been there for 25 years but wants to make sure it’ll be there for future generations and continue the message of sustainability by purchasing the lease for the 80-acre site. The residents have launched a crowdfunding campaign to try and raise funds to buy the land they live on and are hoping to raise £1million to purchase the site.

Go to www.crowdfunder.co.uk/save-brithdir-mawr for more information and how you can support Brithdir Mawr. Visit https://wales.coop/co-operative-community-led-housing/ for more information on community-led housing schemes and how they work.

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Firefighters tackle blaze at St Clears

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A FIRE broke out in a commercial garage at Lower St Clears this morning (Monday).

Firefighters were called to the fire in Bridge Street at around 8.18am. Crews from Carmarthen, Whitland, Tenby, Crymych and Pembroke Dock attended to tackle the blaze.

A spokesperson for the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Firefighters extinguished the fire using four breathing apparatus, two hose reel jets, two thermal imaging cameras and one safety jet. Two environmental kits and small gear were also used by crews during the incident.

“The police, ambulance service and Western Power were also in attendance. The fire service left the incident at 11.33am.”

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Haverfordwest man accused of robbing a teenage boy

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A HAVERFORDWEST man is to stand trial accused of trying to rob a 13-year-old boy.

Ry Robert Williams, aged 27, was before Judge Keith Thomas at Swansea Crown Court today via a video link with the city’s prison where he is being held on remand.

Williams, of Peregrine Close, denied attempting to rob the youth of an unspecified amount of money on July 5. Judge Thomas said on Friday (Nov 15) that his trial would begin on January 30 and Williams was further remanded in custody.

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