Cyclists and walkers conflict on Clyne Valley track

CYCLISTS are coming into conflict with walkers more at a huge country park in Swansea, according to councillors, but extra funding has been secured for the area.

Cllr Mark Child said it would be good if some of that money could be spent separating the two user groups at the Clyne Valley Country Park track.

The Blackpill to Gowerton track bisects the popular 300-hectare park, which has been owned by the council for decades but still lacks an overall management plan.

The section to the west of the track is in the Gower Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The park is mainly woodland and has had a surge in use since the coronavirus lockdown, a meeting of the Gower AONB Partnership Steering Group heard.

But members were told this has brought problems around access, damage to a scheduled ancient monument, and illegal off-road biking.

“I have never seen it anything like as busy as in recent months,” said Cllr Child.

“At the best of times, there is effectively a conflict between pedestrians and cyclists on that track.”

Cllr Paxton Hood-Williams said this had been an issue for a while.

The Gower AONB has been awarded £135,000 by the Welsh Government, and £100,000 of this has been allocated to Clyne Valley Country Park.

Gower AONB team leader Chris Lindley said it could be spent on access routes and improvements to heritage features.

Paul Meller, the council’s strategic planning and natural environment manager, said funding from a separate pot could go on new ground-level track signs reminding users to be respectful of others.

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Clyne Valley is a designated site of special scientific interest and became a country park in the late 1970s, following the recommendations of a 1978 planning study.

The report before the steering group said: “There has been no review of Clyne Valley, the country park or the council’s strategy or objectives for the area since the 1978 planning study – more than 40 years ago.”

But it is now acknowledged in planning terms as “a strategically important green space” for Swansea.

Mr. Lindley said different council departments had a role in the country park but that an overall approach was still lacking.

“This has come to the fore in recent months,” he said.

Cllr Child said it was high time for an overall strategy, and welcomed the rise in visitor numbers.

He added: “I think we need to make sure there is sufficient protection and enhancement of the natural environment.”

The country park includes Clyne Castle, five scheduled monuments, two listed buildings, and is bordered by Killay Marsh Local Nature Reserve.

Otters and bat species are said to be present, but some areas to the east of the track are blighted by Japanese knotweed.

Cllr Child said: “Swansea has more wood(land) than most cities. We should be proud of it but we should know how to use it and manage it as well.”

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