Valleys Regional Park & A National Nature Service for Wales

Sep 30, 2022

The Valleys Regional Park (VRP) has been working with a range of other stakeholders on the development of a National Nature Service for Wales.

Valleys Regional Park aims to pilot the ambitions of a National Nature Service in an area where both jobs and nature restoration is needed the most. VRP will help explore how such an initiative could add value and depth to existing services while setting out a scalable approach that could support the wider vision of a National Nature Service for Wales.

A Nature Emergency

In 2021, Welsh Government declared a Nature Emergency, acknowledging the perilous state of our natural environment and the interconnectedness of both the climate and nature crises. Restoring and protecting nature boosts biodiversity and the ecosystems that can rapidly and cheaply absorb carbon again. And restoring nature at scale, across resilient ecological networks, means our life-supporting environment is more resilient and better able to withstand the inevitable shocks that we are already seeing as part of a changing climate.

Put simply, action on nature is action on climate.

The challenge is huge, but restoring nature at the scale required would result in a range of wider benefits. The creation of a National Nature Service for Wales is seen as one of the ways to meet the challenge whilst maximising this wider benefit.

A National Nature Service for Wales

The core aim of the National Nature Service is restoring nature whilst creating new green jobs and kickstarting a shift toward a green skills pipeline in Wales.

Valleys Regional Park’s contribution to the proposals centre around the idea of using the Discovery Gateways and similar sites to deliver nature-based skills, learning and training opportunities on the doorsteps of local communities.  The proposals aim to help establish a meaningful foundation that can underpin a National Nature Service, whilst also helping to deliver some of the core ambitions of the Valleys Regional Park vision itself.

The VRP Discovery Gateways represent a highly visible, highly accessible network of hubs near to local communities. The 12 VRP Discovery Gateways alone receive over 2 million visits annually.

Nature-based volunteer and environmental education programmes, across a network of local sites, could provide the foundation for green skills and eco-literacy training as part of a National Nature Service for Wales. Such an approach would reimagine our Country Parks and similar sites as vital community hubs providing opportunities for reconnecting people with nature and natural processes, whilst also providing tangible opportunities for deeper involvement around skills, training and education.

Providing the qualified and experienced ranger-type job roles to develop and deliver these programmes could see a significant return on investment, reaching large numbers of people in helping address some of the root causes of the nature crisis. It could also repurpose and regenerate the network of Country Parks and Discovery Gateways to provide a strong foundation for the delivery of a National Nature Service, creating new jobs, new employment pathways and helping embed the culture change needed to meet the generational challenge before us.

To get involved in creating the National Nature Service, visit for more information and to register your interest.


Daniel Lock

Landscape, Culture and Identity Convenor, Valleys Regional Park.