A GREEN space in Bridgend has officially become a Local Nature Reserve, with the council assuming full responsibility for the land.
The 45-acre park, located near Kenfig Hill and Cefn Cribwr, features marsh, woodland and various animal habitats like dormice and pipistrelle bats.
The park is also home to the 18th-century Cefn Cribwr Ironworks.
Councillors agreed to assume the title for Bedford Park with the support of Natural Resources Wales and will manage the site, protecting it from inappropriate development or future use.
Local nature reserves “protect habitats and species” and allow authorities to “increase awareness about the natural environment”, according to Janine Nightingale, the council’s corporate director for communities.
“That’s become so important for us, particularly during the pandemic,” she added.
The new arrangement will allow the council to protect and manage the park “effectively”, said Ms Nightingale.
Councillors also agreed to expand Frog Pond Wood local nature reserve, Pyle to include Village Farm Meadow.
Ms Nightingale said the council will be responsible for maintaining grasses on both sites and maintaining animal habitats.
“We’ll be looking at ensuring that those species that we want to protect are maintained in the right way.”
She added “a very detailed survey” will be undertaken to assess the ecology at both sites and bat boxes could be introduced as well as information boards.
To manage the new sites, the council will spend around £15,000 per year.
Councillor Charles Smith, the cabinet member for education and regeneration, said:
“I think this is an excellent initiative. The cost that’s been outlined is absolutely money well spent.”
To be classed as a local nature reserve, a site must have natural features of special interest to the local area.
There are five other local nature reserves in the county borough:
Locks Common in Porthcawl, Craig Y Parcau in Bridgend, Frog Pond Wood in Pyle, Tremains Wood in Brackla and Kenfig Nature Reserve.