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Mapping Wales’ special places

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PEOPLE can now ‘walk’ some of Wales’ iconic trails and paths from the comfort of their armchair after Natural Resources Wales (NRW) teamed up with Google to add its special sites to Google Street View.

These give people a 360̊ panoramic view, so anyone with internet access can virtually ‘walk’ the trails using Street View on Google Maps.

WHAT’S HAPPENING?

Have you ever been on Google Maps and picked up the yellow ‘Pegman’ to explore an area in Street View, only for the imagery to stop at the end of the road?

Well the area of Wales on Google Maps has just got a little bit bigger .

This project is part of NRW’s commitment to help more people get active and enjoy the outdoors.

Max Stokes, Natural Resources Planning Officer, said: “We look after loads of sites across Wales where people can go running, walking and mountain biking.

“Launching the digital maps with Google means we can now showcase these special places on a global platform.

“We hope that this ‘virtual warden’ experience will encourage more people to get out and enjoy the outdoors.”

The maps include routes along the boardwalks at Cors Caron, through Dyfi Ynyslas Nature Reserve and around the beautiful waterfall country in the Brecon Beacons. And this was all completed by NRW staff who volunteered to be involved.

Max Stokes continued: “We had over 60 members of staff who walked over 40 individual routes with the Street View Trekker.

“The camera was worn like a backpack so we could capture trails only accessible by foot.

“It was their enthusiasm which was key to the project’s success.”

TREKKER-ING AROUND WALES

The Herald contacted NRW, who kindly gave us permission to reproduce Max Stokes’ blog post on the experience of Google-mapping some of the spectacular sites managed by NRW.

Max Stokes writes:

With the sites chosen and a network of keen staff volunteers ready to go, it was time to get out and start walking in some of Wales’ most spectacular countryside with the Street View Trekker.

Choosing from so many fantastic potential places was difficult. We only had one summer and could only trek when it wasn’t raining which, being Wales, limited our total trekking time. But we still managed to capture most of our key special sites and places of interest… From Newborough Warren to the Wye Valley woodlands, we trekked over 40 different paths across Wales, totalling over 200km.

Trekking causes quite a stir – walking around with 23 kilos of batteries, cameras (15 of them) and GPS units in a backpack is certainly a way of attracting attention to yourself!

This was one of the great things about the project; most people who saw this strange looking device couldn’t resist coming to ask about it. It was great for trekkers to hear first-hand how much people loved visiting these sites.

I also got a great opportunity to also explore sites I’d never been to before, and to meet the people who manage them.

It was hard work, but definitely worth the effort!

There are some places we wouldn’t have been able to trek without the help of our partners including Wildlife trust of South and West Wales, Swansea University, Merthyr Mawr Estate, the RSPB and the City and County of Swansea.

Ben Sampson, of Swansea University, [who] manages Crymlyn Burrows, says: “The sand dunes and saltmarsh of Crymlyn Burrows is the last remaining pocket of natural habitat around the coast of Swansea Bay and it is very exciting that people can explore the area with this technology.

“Hopefully it will whet people’s appetite to get out and see (and hear and smell) it in the flesh too.”

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Llanelli: Stop notice issued for school planning application

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A CONTROVERSIAL planning application for a new 480-spaced school in Llanelli has been issued a stop notice by the Welsh Government.
Carmarthenshire County Council is proposing to build a new £9.1m school on Llanerch Fields in Llanelli and were looking to determine the planning application in the coming weeks. Welsh Government will now decide whether to call in the application or not.
The new school would accommodate 420 primary and 60 nursery pupils, set over two floors with larger classrooms with integrated IT facilities, a multi-purpose hall and specialist provision for pupils with additional learning needs.
Over recent years there has been much debate in the area on the choice of site for the new school with campaigners arguing that they support a new school, but object against Llanerch fields being built upon. Last year an attempt to get the land designated as a village green was turned down.
In 2017, Ysgol Dewi Sant as the first Welsh medium primary school to be provided by a local authority celebrated its 70th birthday.
Councillor Rob James, local member for Lliedi, stated “From day one I have raised concerns that the Council’s site choice and planning process opened the Council up to the possibility of the Welsh Government calling in the planning application. It is clear that these concerns were not misplaced and there is now a really chance that it will be. 

“As a local Councillor, a school governor and a parent, I am passionate about the need for a new school for the pupils of Ysgol Dewi Sant and it is important that local pupils get the benefits of a 21st century school.
“I will now be working with Council Officers to ensure that contingency plans are prepared in case the Welsh Government state that the planning application does not comply with national planning policy.
“I will also work with parents, pupils, residents and interested parties are able to engage with the Welsh Government during this process.”

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Third annual Burry Port Raft Race is eagerly awaited

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THE THIRD ANNUAL BURRY PORT RAFT RACE, organised by Burry Port couple, Craig and Isabel Goodman, will be held on Saturday (July 27).

The event which is held in Burry Port Harbour, raises much needed funds for both Burry Port RNLI and a children’s football academy and primary school the couple support in The Gambia.

The day launches at 12pm with stands, food stalls and children’s inflatable games and rides and these will be available until 5pm. You’ll also have a chance to meet the crews, who’ll be busy putting the final touches to their rafts.

Rafts launch at 3pm, followed by a presentation ceremony, including prizes for first raft over the line, first raft to sink and best dressed raft.

Craig said: ” A huge thank you goes to all our sponsors, including overall sponsor Dawsons, along with continued sponsorship from Celtic Couriers, Parker Plant Hire, Burns Pet Nutrition, Burry Port Co-Op, Llanelli Star, LBS Builders Merchants, Burry Port Marina, First Choice Flooring and Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council.

For any further information about the event, please contact 07825 842981.

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Compensation offered after FSCS declares Llanelli firm in default

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CONSUMERS could get back money they have lost as a result of their dealings with a failed regulated firm in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire. The firm is Hayden Williams Independent Financial Services Limited formerly Assura Protect, Room 1, 7 Meadows Bridge, Parc Menter, Cross Hands, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales SA14 6RA.

The firm was declared in default in June 2019 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

FSCS is the UK’s statutory compensation scheme that protects customers of authorised financial services firms that carry out certain regulated activities. A declaration of default means FSCS is satisfied a firm is unable to pay claims for compensation made against it. This paves the way for customers of that firm to make a claim for compensation with FSCS.

Alex Kuczynski, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at FSCS, said: “FSCS steps in to protect consumers around the UK when authorised financial services firms go bust. This vital service, which is free to consumers, protects deposits, insurance, investments, home finance and debt management. We want anyone who believes they may be owed money as a result of their dealings with this firm to get in touch, as we may be able to help you.”

Since it began in 2001, FSCS has helped more than 4.5m people, paying out more than £26bn in compensation.

If you wish to make a claim with FSCS against Hayden Williams Independent Financial Services Limited, you may be able to do so using FSCS’s online claims service at https://claims.fscs.org.uk Or you can contact its Customer Services Team on 0800 678 1100 or 020 7741 4100

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