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Walking in the footsteps of royalty at Dinefwr

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THE NATIONAL TRUST in South Wales is inviting Welsh history lovers to uncover the fascinating story of the powerful Princes of Deheubarth at Dinefwr Park in Llandeilo.

The National Trust Heritage Conservation Charity, with its partners of Cadw and Carmarthenshire County Council recently benefitted from grant funding to enhance the story of the Welsh rulers via Cadw’s £19m Heritage Tourism Project.

The work has been funded through the Heritage Tourism Project, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and led by Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service.

The story of the Welsh princes is one of battles, law making and a passion for the arts that shaped our culture and language. It began after the Roman army abandoned Britain, leaving native British leaders struggling for control.

After several centuries, three main princedoms emerged in Wales: Gwynedd, Powys and in south west Wales, Deheubarth.

T he emerging Welsh princes carved a great legacy for themselves and one of the most important, Hywel Dda, championed Welsh laws. More compassionate and forward thinking than those of England, they included rights for women.

One of the last great princes of Deheubarth was Rhys ap Gruffydd, ‘The Lord Rhys’. He was a fearless warrior, an able diplomat and a cunning politician who ruled Deheubarth between 1155 and 1197.

“The Princes of Deheubarth had their seat of power here at Dinefwr Park”, said Sophie Thomas, Marketing Officer for National Trust Carmarthenshire.

“The imposing Dinefwr Castle, owned by the South Wales Wildlife Trust and joint managed by Cadw and the National Trust, still stands on top of the hill overlooking the National Trust’s 800 acre parkland estate and the rest of the Tywi Valley. With the help of the Heritage Tourism Project we’ve been able to really showcase this story for the first time and to link the parkland with the castle.

“We’ve created a brand new audio trail allowing visitors to walk to Dinefwr Castle with characters from centuries past as their guide. You can listen to what life was like for a humble farmer or even The Lord Rhys himself. Archaeology enthusiasts could also choose to listen to our own on site archaeologist for a different view point on this incredible story and of course these tours are available in Welsh as well”.

The aim of the Princes of Deheubarth project was to explain this important medieval history and to use Dinefwr Park and the castle as a heritage tourism focal point of the story, providing connections between other places in the area linked as partners under the project. The story continues at the Hywel Dda Centre in Whitland, at Talley Abbey and then links with Lord of the Southern Marches story based around Pembroke Castle.

This Medieval history is not available today as all we see are the ruins of castle so we wanted to widen the understanding of our visitors and local to how important in Welsh history the story of the Princes of Deheubarth were. The hope is that people will be inspired to learn more and to follow the journey as the historical story unfolds across South Wales by visiting the key sites.

Under this project there are lots of different ways you can learn about this fascinating Welsh history. “We were aware that not everyone likes an App or modern media so we have tried to provide a range of interpretation tools that mean the widest access for our visitors “said Jacqui Kedward, General Manager.

The interpretation includes a free App called “Castles & Princes” that can be downloaded for all types of mobile devices. The audio tours are available at the Dinefwr Visitor Information Centre and can be listened to in both English and Welsh, with dramatization of the story in the words of the characters who would have experienced them. We have improved the interpretative signage on site so the story can be followed using a s self-led map of the walk to the castle so families can take their own time to follow the story. “I was most impressed with the waterproof paper that the self-led map is printed on” said Jacqui Kedward, “essential for the Welsh weather and a little rain has never stopped our visitors from enjoying the parkland walks”.

The start of your journey for learning the story of the Princes of Deheubarth starts at Dinefwr where Carreg Cennen Castle can be viewed from up on top of the castle walls. Also part of the Castles and Princes story are Carmarthen Castle, Swansea Castle, Pembroke Castle and Laugharne Castle which all contribute to the story of the princes of Deuheubarth as history unfolds itself across the landscape of South Wales.

 

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Have your say on the future of housing in Carmarthenshire

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RESIDENTS and businesses are being urged to have their say on the future of housing in Carmarthenshire.

Carmarthenshire County Council is developing a new 10-year Housing and Regeneration Masterplan and residents are being asked for their views.

Providing quality, affordable homes is a key priority for the council and it is investing millions of pounds in new housing stock; creating much-needed jobs and helping to grow the local economy and regenerate communities.

In 2015, the council became the first in Wales to suspend the Right to Buy to retain its declining housing stock, and built a number of bungalows – the first local authority housing to be built in Wales since the 1980s.

A year later, in 2016, it launched its affordable homes plan to deliver 1,000 additional affordable homes in the county by 2021 by building new, buying from the market and converting empty buildings.

Now the council is shaping its plans for the next 10 years which includes building over 900 new council homes and investing nearly £150million across the county by 2029.

It is important that the new homes are of the right type, size and tenure, and in the right places to build strong sustainable communities where people want to live and work.

The Housing and Regeneration Masterplan will also recognise the role of housing development and investment in stimulating the overall economic growth of the county – which is now even more critical as we recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Residents are being encouraged to take part in our online consultation which starts on Monday, June 14.

Cllr Linda Evans, Executive Board Member for Housing, said: “We are proud to be leading the way here in Carmarthenshire to deliver new, affordable, high quality and much-needed homes for local people.

“We have already achieved so much during the last few years, but we must now plan for the next 10 years and we need the views of our residents to help tell us where they think these homes should be developed, who should have them, and what type and size they should be.

“We are committed to making more homes available for those in highest need, and aim to deliver a plan that will provide homes in communities where people want to live, with a range of homes to suit specific needs.

“This includes our rural towns and villages, where we must help to make sure that local people are able to afford quality affordable homes and remain in their communities; as well as increasing the residential offer in our town centres, increasing footfall and helping businesses to thrive.

“Aside from providing much needed homes in the county, the investment will also boost the local economy creating jobs, training opportunities and apprenticeships in the construction industry.”

The council is delivering this commitment in a number of ways, including building more council homes and working with housing association partners to deliver more new build schemes, buying stock that suits our needs, working with developers to ensure a range of affordable homes are built as part of private developments and bringing empty homes back into use. 

It is also actively working with landlords to encourage them to make their properties available at affordable rent levels, including bringing more private sector homes into the management of our in-house social lettings agency.

To take part in the survey please visit the consultation pages on the council website carmarthenshire.gov.wales/consultations Paper copies are available from one of our customer service Hwbs. The survey closes on July 26.

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Community wardens hit the streets of Tyisha and Glanymor

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has appointed two new community wardens to patrol the Tyisha and Glanymor areas of Llanelli.

The community wardens will support the local Neighbourhood Policing Team and other agencies to provide a visible presence within the area and will have a varied role which will include:

  • Patrolling hot spot areas to deter crime and anti-social behaviour
  • Tackling vandalism and fly tipping as well as issues relating to communal areas and open spaces/parks
  • Supporting the introduction of a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme
  • Organising the installation of crime prevention measures
  • Offering targeted support to vulnerable members of the community
  • Encourage wellbeing activities and community engagement with youth projects, schools and clubs including the promotion of volunteering opportunities.

Linda Evans, chair of the Tyisha steering group and executive board member for housing said: “I am delighted that Tyisha and Glanymor now have community wardens who will work closely with Dyfed Powys Police and other agencies to deliver a multi-agency approach to tackling issues of community concern. In response to community feedback they will prioritise tackling anti-social behaviour issues, reducing crime relating to drug and alcohol misuse and engaging with the community to make positive changes throughout Tyisha and Glanymor.”

Ann Davies, Executive Board Member and vice-chair of the Tyisha Steering Group said: “The work carried out by the community wardens will make a positive difference through helping to reduce fear of crime and incidents of anti-social behaviour as well as improving quality of life for those who live in these communities.”

The introduction of community wardens to the Tyisha area forms part of the council’s ambitious Transforming Tyisha project which looks to regenerate the area through increasing community safety, developing housing and community facilities and improving the environment.

To contact the community wardens or for more information on joining Tyisha and Glanymor’s Neighbourhood Watch Scheme please e-mail tyisha@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

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Pollinators protected during annual grass verge cuts

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council highways crews are starting their annual roadside grass cutting operations this week, but not every verge will be fully cut.

As part of its duty to protect biodiversity, grass will only be cut in one metre swathes in most areas where growth is affecting road visibility and pedestrian safety and several verges will be left until later in the year allowing flowers to set seed before being cut.

Much of Carmarthenshire’s roadside growth of grass and wildflowers will be left untouched to support local wildlife and pollinating insects.

Cuts will only be taken in these areas if there are health and safety concerns, particularly in 30-40mph areas in towns and villages.

Cllr Hazel Evans, the council’s executive Board Member for Environment, said the authority has taken a careful view of grass cutting operations not just for the sake of biodiversity but also to keep costs down.

“We have to carefully balance the needs of local wildlife with our responsibility for highway safety,” she said. “The importance of the road verge network for nature conservation is reflected in our verge maintenance policy. We delay the cutting of some verges in the interests of conservation as long as highway safety for motorists, cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians is not jeopardised.

“This is not only a reflection of our duty to the environment but also follows budget reviews which have identified cost savings by reducing and delaying grass cutting operations.”

Pollinating insects are essential for the maintenance of ecosystems through pollination of the wild plants which form the basis of most habitats. They also play an important role in the production of many crops.

The council works to conserve and enhance biodiversity and has a range of projects to support local species and habitats.

Managing areas for wildlife can provide opportunities for individuals, community groups and schools to get involved, benefiting wildlife and people.

Visit www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/biodiversity for further information and ideas for ways to support local conservation. 

For further information on highways operations, visit the website’s travel, roads and parking pages.

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