We recently had news of an exciting new project that is in its formative stages thanks to a Heritage Lottery Funded programme called “The Living Levels Landscape Partnership”.
The project has its roots way back in March 2014 when the first Community Engagement even took place.
Two years later the project is now in its “Development Year” where the members of the development team are seeking the engagement of local groups like ours to become involved and to take an active role in its progression. The Gwent levels is one of the largest surviving areas of ancient grazing marshes and reen (drainage ditch) systems in Britain, stretching all the way from Wentloog in Cardiff almost to Chepstow. They are entirely the work of man, having been recurrently flooded and reclaimed from the sea from the Roman period onwards. In later years the`Marcher’ lords started settling their newly acquired estates, including the Levels, with English tenants. In south-west Wales, the English often made use of Flemish entrepreneurs to create new villages. In the Gwent Levels, there is no direct evidence for Dutch or Flemish involvement, but one planned village, Whitson, does show similarities with a system of reclamation used in Holland, known as the `cope’. In this system, farms were laid out in a single line on slightly elevated land, with the tenement plots stretching out, in a distinctive manner, in long strips towards the lower ground.
Those of you with a good memory will remember Channel 4’s Time Team floundering around in the mud for three days on the Gwent Levels foreshore in this episode from February 2004.
On Thursday 17th November 2016, the committee members of the ACS were delighted to meet with the Living Levels Community Development Officer Gavin Jones who gave an overview of the project and discussed what role the society could play in the project. Gavin also provided a newsletter for our members which can be read Here
Discussions with the Partnership are at an early stage at the moment, but we will keep you updated as they progress. If the project secures second stage funding in July 2017 it will run for a three year period from 2018 to 2020.
references accessed on Wednesday 30/11/16