21 February 2023
Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust (MWT) is helping families and children discover their wild sides while boosting their wellbeing this February half-term with a brand new ‘Nature Play’ area at Llyn Coed y Dinas Nature Reserve in Welshpool.
It has been created thanks to a Welsh Government-funded partnership project called Canals, Communities and Wellbeing, which aims to improve opportunities for access, recreation and nature-connectedness within the Montgomery Canal corridor, where the nature reserve lies. The outdoor play area incorporates natural materials – including logs from nearby MWT nature reserve, Dolforwyn Woods, where ancient woodland is being restored – and timber equipment designed to complement the wild surroundings while facilitating engagement with nature and the great outdoors.
With log benches, a ring of rustic log stools, a sensory ‘rainbow room’ and a mud kitchen, the outdoor area provides the perfect place for children and their families to enjoy imaginative and explorative play against the inspiring backdrop of a nature reserve. Here, young minds can explore, create and discover, while bug-hunting, bird-watching, leaf-collecting and wildlife-spotting – not to mention getting muddy, messy and having fun! This special space will be open to members of the public visiting Llyn Coed y Dinas, and will also host family-friendly events, educational visits from local schools and youth outreach sessions delivered by Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust.
“We know that children learn best through play, and there’s no better place for young people to learn about the natural world than outside,” says Ceri Jones, Head of Living Landscapes at Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust. “What’s more, research shows that feeling connected to nature leads to reduced stress, improved concentration and better sleep – it also results in more sustainable attitudes to the environment.”
Llyn Coed y Dinas is a wonderful home for all kinds of wildlife, and there’s always something to see whatever the season. The Nature Play area will complement existing facilities at the reserve, which include a large bird hide with seating overlooking the lake, a picnic area and a small car park.
This play area is one of many infrastructure and biodiversity improvements being carried out in the Montgomery and Monmouthshire and Brecon canals corridor in Powys, as part of the Canals, Communities and Wellbeing project, which will run until May 2023. A partnership between Powys County Council’s Countryside Access and Recreation Team, who are leading the project, Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, Glandŵr Cymru, Canal & River Trust in Wales and the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, it includes towpath improvements, enhancements to nature reserves, new visitor interpretation signage, promotional aerial films of the canals, guided wildlife walks and a free, bilingual wildlife-spotting smartphone app called Canal Safari.
The Canals, Communities and Wellbeing project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.