Using geology to connect communities with their environment

South Wales is a region rooted in its geology.  Many communities owe their very existence to the riches of coal and ironstone beneath their feet.  The industries that once exploited these riches have long since gone, and the once industrial landscapes have, over the last few decades, returned to being beautiful and wild places.  However, the legacy of poverty (both of wealth and aspiration) remains, allied with a sense of disconnect between people and the landscapes which once sustained them.  

There are organisations seeking to address this disconnect, driving projects that re-forge a link between South Wales communities and their landscape.  Yellow Sub Geo were an enthusiastic part of the inception of one such project, seeking to reconnect a community with the country park that overlooked their village.  The country park had a series of spectacular crags of coal measures rocks within it, and the potential for use of these was identified by the project manager, who called on us for help.

Yellow Sub Geo has expertise in the intepretation and use of geodiversity - soil, rocks and landscape - as a tool to enable peoples' better understanding of the world in which they live.  Working within an initial, small budget we undertook a survey of the site, in conjunction with representatives of the local community.  This exercise served a dual purpose of investigating the potential for the use of geology in the project, and imparting some enthusiasm and knowledge to the community from the start.  Opportunities were identified for use of the site, both as an outdoor classroom for nearby schools and for wider interpretatation and community engagement.  We developed this into a short report outlining the opportunities, coupled with costings for taking this aspect of the project forward.  This in turn was used, alongside input from ecological and industrial heritage experts, to form an application for Heritage Lottery Funding.

The outcome of the bid for funding is awaited and the project team are optimistic of success.  Watch this space for the implementation of a strategy in which geodiversity forms a lynchpin of an exciting community project.


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