Park's funding boost backed by supporters
A MASSIVE funding boost for Port Talbot's Margam Park has been welcomed by its supporters.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded £1.6 million to the historic attraction.
Neath Port Talbot Council said the money would be used to maintain buildings which include the remains of a 12th Century monastery, Georgian orangery as well as 19th Century Margam Castle.
Park manager Michael Wynne said they were "delighted" with the grant.
He added: "I think it will make a huge difference to help us enhance the gardens and to restore some of the listed buildings and to preserve them for the future.
"This helps us to build and conserve our heritage." Friends of Margam Park membership secretary Jeff Jones said they were very pleased Margam Park will be able to be conserved with the funding.
"It is a special place," he said.
"It is the jewel in the crown of Port Talbot and it should be treated as such.
"We are hoping the funding will help push us forward as a group and help us get more people from the community involved.
"As a friends group we are very upbeat now and we are hoping we can enter discussions with the council to become more involved in the park."
In September members along with volunteers carried out a community archaeological project at the historic monastic ruins in the park.
The ruins, near the orangery, have decayed over the years and have now been cordoned off.
"We are hoping to receive the report in January," said Mr Jones.
As well as the HLF grant, Neath Port Talbot Council has secured £218,000 in match-funding from the European Regional Development Fund.
Historical core improvements will be carried out to the Broadwalk, castle and orangery terraces, the Temple of Four Seasons, the Ivy Cottage, the Japanese Garden, the ha-ha and water features.