Hot air balloon flight showcases sculpture

The presenters from BBC1’s One Show recently took a hot air balloon ride over a reclaimed coalfield in the midst of the South Wales Valleys to showcase the UK’s largest earth sculpture.

With the demise of the coalmining industry, Penallta near Ystrad Mynach, like many redundant pit workings, has been transformed from the spoil of a former coal tip into a visitor attraction, and now offers a number of audio-guided walking trails, cycle routes, water features and sculptures.

The ‘Top 10 Woodland Sculpture Trails’, a guide which gives information on permanent art and sculptures installations in woodland settings, has recently included Parc Penallta, with its own spectacular earth sculpture of Sultan the pit pony.

As part of the regeneration of Parc Penallta, a new entrance has been constructed to provide better access to the facilities, particularly the National Cycleway, which is a prominent feature in all five of the country parks operated by the Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Countryside and Landscape Service. The CCBC is also keen to attract more school parties and cycling groups to use the parks.

Sultan the pit pony is the centrepiece of Parc Penallta but, at 200 metres long, is rarely seen to his best effect. The footage captured from the hot air balloon will show him in his full glory and will be used to introduce a special item about pit ponies on the BBC’s magazine show later this summer, in commemoration of the rich history of the area.

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