Bridgend OLW network group developed the project around mining links to increase learning about the area’s industrial heritage and to develop understanding of how a colliery can be returned to nature through natural resource management.
Children from local schools were invited to design some of the sculptures along the route to show how the mine returned to nature, with a skilled wood carver interpreting their work.
The trail has both a short and long route available to suit any age and ability, follow existing pathways alongside meadows, woodlands and open landscapes.
Along the trail teachers and families can use the learning resources and trail leaflets available at the visitor centre to learn more about the heritage and biodiversity of the reserve.
Learners can read a map, follow clues, answer quiz questions and read about what a child worker’s first day down the mine might have felt like. They can even try and count all the stones that represent the fallen in the miners’ memorial along the trail. The trail will help schools to deliver curriculum linked learning especially that of Welsh culture and the resources are available bilingually.
Lynne Walsh, Chair of Bridgend OLW network group, said “What a superb Heritage trail for teachers and families to use at Parc Slip! Proud to have been involved, and thanks to Cath Lewis, Karen Clarke, and everyone who made this possible”
The group now plan to provide backpacks with additional resources to enhance the learning opportunities along the trail. These will be available shortly on request.
Parc Slip Colliery was a coal mine near situated at Aberkenfig, in Bridgend County and was the site of a horrific mining explosion which killed 112 men and boys. The disaster is thought to have started because of a faulty miner's lamp. The rescue effort, which continued until late the next day, saw 39 trapped and injured miners brought to the surface.
This area has been skilfully managed to evolve into an incredible nature reserve, which honours the memory of the disaster which took place there. The reserve is a popular venue for walkers and nature lovers of all ages and has an education service in situ delivering to schools to support outdoor learning in the county.
For more information on Parc Slip or to access the Past and Present trail resources contact: https://www.welshwildlife.org/visitor-centres/parc-slip-visitor-centre/parc-slip-nature-reserve/