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Fishpond Power: Margam Country Park turbine restoration creates renewable energy source

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The historic turbine house located in Margam Country Park has been restored to once again provide electricity for the Margam Estate.

The Turbine house was built in 1891 for Emily Charlotte Talbot, who commissioned the development of a hydro-electric scheme powered by a nearby fishpond.

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The original turbine generated enough electricity to power 400 lamps. It is thought Margam Castle was the second domestic dwelling to have electricity in Britain at that time.

During the 1950s, the original turbine was removed and taken to South Africa. The replacement turbine has now been fully restored after being neglected for many years.

The restored turbine can now produce approximately 25KW of renewable energy which will be used to power the buildings on the Margam Estate, including the prestigious on-site wedding venue, The Orangery.

The hydro-electric scheme creates no emissions while in service and any unspent energy will be fed back to the National Grid. The project will bring savings to the operation of the country park, reduce the carbon footprint and provide an educational resource for local residents, visitors and schools.

The Margam Park fishpond (Image: Neath Port Talbot Council)

Cllr Peter Rees, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture, said: “This project neatly combines part of Margam’s history with the council’s modern day Decarbonisation and Renewable Energy (DARE) strategy and I’d like to thank everyone involved in bringing this valuable renewable energy source back to life.”

The turbine restoration project was overseen by Neath Port Talbot Council, with support from Cadw and the Friends of Margam Country Park who worked closely with Heidra, the company responsible for restoring the ancient turbine.

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Steve Ritchie from Heidra said: “Heidra was delighted to be asked by Neath Port Talbot Council to refurbish the 1920s hydro-electric system at Margam Country Park. The turbine, which originally powered the castle electrics before the National Grid existed, has now been upgraded with a modern control and efficient electric generator to supply both heat and clean green electricity to power the Park.”

In addition to housing the turbine, the building will also be used as a workshop and exhibition space for the Friends of Margam Park.

The turbine is open to the public to view, which will help promote and give an insight into the important development of modern-day renewable energy generators.

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Margam

Margam Park Cherry Trees to celebrate blossoming relationship with Japan

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Six cherry trees gifted from Japan have been planted in Margam Country Park to celebrate enduring friendship between the UK and Japan.

The six Japanese cherry trees – or Sakura in Japanese – are some of more than 6,000 of the trees gifted to the UK as part of the Sakura Cherry Tree friendship project paid for by a variety of Japanese businesses.

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At Margam Country Park on Tuesday (March 22nd, 2022) when the trees were planted were the Honorary Consul for Japan, Mr Keith Dunn OBE, the Mayor of Neath Port Talbot, Cllr John Warman, Neath Port Talbot Council Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture, Cllr Peter Rees and Park Manager Mike Wynne.

The Sakura Cherry Tree Project is a legacy from the Japan-UK Season of Culture 2019-2021 which showcased Japan’s multifaceted attractions in the UK. The season provided the opportunity to learn more about Japan, its culture and people through hundreds of events ranging from arts, sports, cuisine and performance. 

The cherry tree being planted by Mayor Cllr John Warman and dignitaries (Image: NPT Council)

The Sakura Cherry Trees will be distributed to more than 200 sites in all four countries of the UK from St Ives to Aberdeen to Londonderry, Cardiff and several of London’s biggest parks. Around 1,000 of the cherry trees will be planted in Wales.

The project was formally launched with a planting ceremony at Regent’s Park attended by HRH The Duke of Gloucester, the then Japanese Ambassador Yasumasa Nagamine and Joint Chairman of the Sakura Cherry Tree Project Keisaku Sandy Sano.

Members of the public in Wales and the rest of the UK will start to witness the thousands of cherry trees blossom in spring 2022 and beyond. 

All of the varieties of cherry trees to be planted as part of this project are of Japanese origin.  The vast majority will be of three varieties, ‘Beni-yutaka’, ‘Taihaku’, and ‘Somei-yoshino’, which have been chosen for their variation in colour, timing, and historical significance. For example, ‘Taihaku’ is a large, single white blossom variety, which became extinct in Japan but was reintroduced to its homeland by Britain’s Collingwood ‘Cherry’ Ingram in 1932.

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Neath Port Talbot Mayor Cllr John Warman said: “What a fantastic way to commemorate friendship between countries. The planting of these trees will be something that both present and future generations can enjoy. I would like to congratulate all of those involved to make possible such a worthwhile project.”

(Lead image: NPT Council)

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Route announced for Mayor’s charity 10K at Margam Park

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The route for the first ever Parc Margam 10k run has been revealed.

The mixed terrain run is set to take place on Sunday 13th March (10am start) in support of the Mayor of Neath Port Talbot’s Charity Fund.

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The scenic 5k loop will start and finish at the 19th Century Tudor Gothic Mansion, and will showcase the very best of Margam Park. Runners will pass alongside three of the park’s lakes before meandering through its woodland trails and past the fields home to the famous Margam Deer Herd.

Entrants can choose between 10k and 5k routes, and as well as enjoying the run through the historic park, they will help raise funds and awareness for the two very worthy causes – the Neath Port Talbot Cancer Challenge and British Heart Foundation Cymru.

All runners will receive a bespoke participant medal as well as an accurate run time from their timing chip.

To be part of this exciting event, you can register online at: www.margamcountrypark.co.uk/10k . Entry to the race costs £20 per person.

The Mayor of Neath Port Talbot, Cllr John Warman, said: “Whether you want to push yourself, come in fancy dress or just have a gentle run with some friends, the Parc Margam 10k is a great way to blow away the winter cobwebs and get yourself ready for Spring in these breath-taking surroundings.

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“Also you will be helping to publicise and raise money for my two Mayor’s Charities, the British Heart Foundation Cymru and Neath Port Talbot Cancer Challenge (NPTCC).”

Run by volunteers, NPTCC is a local charity that helps local people. Its aim is to help with the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of all types of cancer. The charity raise funds to purchase equipment for local hospitals in Neath Port Talbot, Singleton, Morriston and Bridgend.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) Cymru helps to fund life saving research into heart and circulatory diseases to find better ways of treating, diagnosing and ultimately curing them.

The brand new event is being supported by John Pye Auctions, Auction City, Kenfig Industrial Estate, Margam – Europe’s largest indoor general auction facility.

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New Margam Country Park 10k run aims to raise funds for Mayor’s charity

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The very first Parc Margam 10k run raising money for the Mayor of Neath Port Talbot’s Charity Fund is to get under way in the beautiful surroundings of Port Talbot’s Margam Country Park on Sunday 13 March.

Entrants can choose between 10k and 5k routes and as well as enjoying the run through the historic park, they will help raise funds and awareness for the two very worthy causes chosen by Neath Port Talbot Mayor, Cllr John Warman’s Charity Fund this year – the Neath Port Talbot Cancer Challenge and British Heart Foundation Cymru.

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The brand new event is being supported by John Pye Auctions, Auction City, Kenfig Industrial Estate, Margam – Europe’s largest indoor general auction facility.

The Mayor of Neath Port Talbot, Cllr John Warman, said: “Whether you want to push yourself, come in fancy dress or just have a gentle run with some friends, the Parc Margam 10k is a great way to blow away the winter cobwebs and get yourself ready for Spring in these breath-taking surroundings.

“Also you will be helping to publicise and raise money for my two Mayor’s Charities, the British Heart Foundation Cymru and Neath Port Talbot Cancer Challenge (NPTCC).”

Run by volunteers, NPTCC is a local charity that helps local people. Its aim is to help with the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of all types of cancer. The charity raise funds to purchase equipment for local hospitals in Neath Port Talbot, Singleton, Morriston and Bridgend.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) Cymru helps to fund life saving research into heart and circulatory diseases to find better ways of treating, diagnosing and ultimately curing them.

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The Parc Margam 10k takes place at Margam Country Park on Sunday 13 March 2022 from 10am. Registration costs £20. To revigister and for more information visit margamcountrypark.co.uk/10k .

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