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  • 04 December 2014
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The 10 interactive wooden sculptures have been created at beauty spots around the county borough.

Walkers may have already seen the windswept figure at Kenfig National Nature Reserve, the character overlooking Parc Calon Lan in Blaengarw, three frogs that have popped up at Frog Pond Wood in Pyle, or the boy standing on a sandcastle listening to a shell at Trecco Bay Holiday Park.

There are 10 in total and collectively they are known as the Nature Keepers.

The project was officially launched by Carl Sargeant, the Minister for Natural Resources, at Maesteg Welfare Park, where a six-foot tall man and his dog stand as the Keeper of the Valley among the trees near the pavilion.

The Keeper of the Fields sculpture at Aber Fields in Nantymoel  

The Nature Keepers project has been led by Bridgend County Borough Council, working together with local community groups.

The Nature Keepers were carved out of Welsh oak by local sculptor Dai Edwards, and each of them has its own tale to tell which can only be uncovered by downloading the Dare to Discover app to phones or tablets.

Produced by the council’s countryside and tourism team, the app contains interactive content, including poetry, videos and images, that only becomes available to the user when they are close to one of the Nature Keeper sculptures.

Urging people to download the app and go on a quest to find each Nature Keeper, Councillor Phil White, cabinet member for communities, said: “The Keepers are a fantastic way of encouraging us all to appreciate the county borough’s countryside and green spaces.

“We are very fortunate to have a range of landscapes, from mountainous valleys to expansive beaches, and the idea behind the Keepers is that they are the guardians of our land.

“The Keepers can be found at some of the most special places in the county borough, and they raise awareness of the importance for us all to look after our countryside for future generations.

“I would like to thank the many individuals, organisations and communities who have helped to bring this exciting project to fruition.”

The Nature Keepers follow the style of the keepers sculptures that already watch over the river, garden, woods and meadow areas at Bryngarw Country Park.

Coun White added: “The sculptures have proven to be a very popular addition to Bryngarw Country Park, and the project has now been expanded thanks to funding from Capital Regional Tourism and Natural Resources Wales. I hope that local people and visitors enjoy finding the Nature Keepers and listening to their stories.”

Mr Sargeant added: “The Nature Keepers help to celebrate the countryside in a number of ways and as Minister for Natural Resources that is a key driver of a lot of the work we are doing in Welsh Government.

“These keepers help to demonstrate the natural, economic and cultural benefits that can be achieved when the local authority and community groups work together. Projects such as this do a lot to help raise awareness of our beautiful countryside and green spaces.”

Janice Gregory, Assembly Member for Ogmore, was also present for the launch event at Maesteg Welfare Park, and she was among those who were treated to a reading of the Keeper of the Valley poem by Lynne Seal Harris from the Friends of Maesteg Welfare Park group.

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