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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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How Wales created 19 new field hospitals in less than 8 weeks…

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Across Wales the Welsh Government is supporting the NHS to create new field hospitals and rapidly increase bed capacity.
Health boards have repurposed existing buildings, including the Principality Stadium, a holiday park and even a television studio to provide an additional 6,000 beds.Field hospitals are designed to support the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic by providing extra bed capacity but they will also help normal hospital services be restarted and support social care services.Last month, the first patients were admitted to Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig at the Principality Stadium, in Cardiff.

Four to six weeks

Here is how Wales almost doubled its bed capacity in less than eight weeks…The time it has taken to nearly double hospital bed capacity in Wales, creating field hospitals across the nation.

19 field hospitals in Wales
This includes the repurposing of Bluestone Holiday Park and Parc y Scarlets in west Wales and Venue Cymru in north Wales.

1,500 beds at the Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig
Making it one of the largest field hospitals in the UK.

Five days
The length of time it took to plan Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig, which overlapped with the build phase.

3,000
The number of planning hours, involving more than 20 different disciplines, it took to plan Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig.

£166m
Welsh Government funding for the set up, construction and equipment for field hospitals in Wales.

138,000
The number of pieces of equipment have been provided to help support field hospitals, including beds, imaging equipment, syringe drivers and medicines.

Three North Wales field hospitals have the name Enfys
Meaning rainbow – the symbol of hope and thank you to the NHS during the pandemic.
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7-year-old Mattie from Pembrey takes on home Pen y Fan-tastic challenge for Action for Children

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Plucky Mattie Denman will climb the equivalent of Pen y Fan in the drive at her family home in Pembrey on Friday 22nd May to raise funds for Action for Children.

Mattie (7), has always wanted to climb the highest mountain in South Wales and is unable to currently because of the coronavirus pandemic.  As the family exercise at home every day, she decided she wanted to do the 6-mile equivalent journey there while she waits for the chance to do it for real.  Mattie chose Action for Children as her mother, Sian, works for the charity in Carmarthenshire.

Mattie said: ‘My Mammy works for Action for Children and I want to help as well because lots of families need help.  My older brother and sister help Action for Children, so I asked Mammy if I could do something. We exercise everyday walking up and down the drive and I have always wanted to climb Pen y Fan, but we have never done it.

‘Mammy said I could pretend I am walking it and people will give money to the charity. I said brilliant, that is what I am going to do and I am super excited to do it. I will use mammy’s step counter and I hope I can help children that need support especially because it is so hard for some families because of coronavirus.’

Proud mum and family support practitioner for Action for Children, Sian, added: ‘Mattie has a lovely heart and really wanted to do something and I’m very proud she chose Pen y Fan as her home challenge.  Action for Children has been going the extra mile during the coronavirus pandemic continuing to support vulnerable families through phone and video sessions as well as food and help with the basics from our Emergency Appeal Fund. 

‘It is a tremendously challenging time for our families and every bit of money will directly help those in our communities who need it most.  I hope as many people as possible will donate to Mattie’s brilliant fundraising effort, it’ll make it even more special when we finally get to climb Pen y Fan for real.’

If you want to support Mattie’s Pen y Fan challenge please go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mattiesclimb

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Housebuilder launches Coronavirus move in package

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A South Wales housebuilder has launched new incentives which mean homes are ‘ready to move into’ during the Covid-19 crisis – without the need for tradespeople or delivery people.

People in Wales are allowed to move into new build houses during the lockdown – and many people have successfully done so.

However, the limitations of social distancing can add extra stress when it comes to having things like dishwashers, washing machines and turf installed in the new property.

That’s why Persimmon Homes West Wales has launched a new incentive package which gives purchasers the chance to buy a house with white goods and flooring already in place.

Sharon Bouhali, sales director at Persimmon Homes West Wales, said: “Our sales advisors have done a terrific job in talking with customers and guiding them through the buying process remotely, without the need of face-to-face meetings.

“It’s been a huge challenge, but we’ve risen to it – and Persimmon has sold more than 120 properties in South Wales during the lockdown period. We have customers moving into their new homes every week.

“But, understandably, some people are cautious about having too many tradespeople and contractors enter their home, even if they are doing their utmost to abide by social distancing rules.

“That’s why we have launched these new packages which mean people can turn the key, unpack and get on with enjoying their new home.”

The package includes carpets and vinyl throughout, turf in the back garden, sliding wardrobes, integrated fridge freezer, integrated washer/dryer, integrated dishwasher and £500 discount towards removal fees.

The deal is on offer at Glas Y Felin in Bridgend, Parc Yr Onnen in Carmarthen, The Bridles in Llanelli, Peterson Park in Pontyclun, Parc Brynderi in Llanelli and Allt Y Celyn in Rhos.

Persimmon’s marketing suites in Wales remain closed for the time being. Visit www.persimmonhomes.com or call 01792 229800 for details of homes available.

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