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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 July 2006, 05:58 GMT 06:58 UK
Light plan for valleys' landmarks
Ynys Fach Engine House in Merthyr Tydfil
Ynys Fach Engine House in Merthyr Tydfil has already been lit up
Industrial landmarks across the south Wales valleys could have a brighter future if a 200,000 regeneration plan is given the green light.

Cefn Coed Viaduct in Merthyr Tydfil, Bedwellty House in Tredegar and Big Pit at Blaenavon are among sites earmarked.

The assembly government-funded plan hopes to highlight the industrial past and attract more tourists.

A feasibility study of more than 40 sites has already been completed for a spectacular "Trail of Light".

A total of 200,000 has been earmarked for the scheme - part of the recently-announced Heads of the Valleys regeneration strategy Turning Heads.

The project is being promoted by Herian, a partnership of councils and other public and voluntary bodies.

By lighting up our wonderful industrial buildings, we are proudly drawing attention to our history
David Davies, Herian

David Davies, Herian's chair, said the trail due to be rolled out in 2006 and 2007 was one of its most exciting projects so far.

"We want something that will hit people between the eyes and flag up the fact that south ales as a whole, and the Valleys in particular, once blazed a trail through world industry.

"The trail of light will showcase our iconic industrial features and help bring the past to life."

The Grade II-listed 19th Century Ynys Fach Engine House in Merthyr Tydfil - part of the remains of the ironworks which helped sjape the industrial revolution - has already been lit up.

There are plans to floodlight other heritage buildings from the Rhondda Fach in the west of the region to Blaenavon World Heritage site in the east.

Big Pit, Blaenavon
Big Pit in Blaenavon is also expected to be included in the trail

Part of the project's vision is to develop better physical and thematic links between the area's sites of interest.

"By lighting up our wonderful industrial buildings, we are proudly drawing attention to our history, developing what could become one of the largest arts and entertainment programmes we have in south Wales," said Mr Davies.

The body is also developing a series of information points promoting the trail.

Andrew Davies, assembly enterprise minister said it would "play a key part in our vision for the area" and would also have an early impact on the regeneration strategy.

Corus subsidiary UK Steel Enterprise, a key organisation in the strategy to improve the economy of the valleys, welcomed the scheme

Welsh manager David Hughes said the philosophy reminded him of the Garden Festival in Ebbw Vale in the 1990s "which was highly successful in itself, but perhaps lacked follow-up to drive through its benefits".

Mr Hughes added: "Much will depend on aggressive marketing to bring this to the attention of the people in the UK and overseas who make investment decisions, and bring jobs and wealth into the valleys"


SEE ALSO
Industry museum up for arts prize
10 Feb 06 |  South West Wales

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