What is Skyline?

Project Skyline is a feasibility study that is looking at the possibility of communities managing the landscape that surrounds their town or village.

What would happen if we handed to local people the means to shape their own environment? Not the current piecemeal approach, a small patch of woodland for a few years, but hundreds of hectares for hundreds of years  - to the “skyline”. What might a community choose to do with the land if it could plan not for the three years of a Lottery grant but for three generations? Create jobs from forestry? Support small-holdings or food projects? Improve public access? Support wildlife?  Or a combination of ideas and more besides.

Project Skyline is seeking to answer these questions.  We will be working with three communities in the Valleys - Treherbert, Ynysowen, and Caerau -  as well as all of the key stakeholders such as NRW, and the Local Authority, to understand whether and how land that is currently publicly managed could be managed by a local community.

Who is managing the project?

The feasibility study is being run by The Green Valleys Community Interest Company (TGV CIC) with funding from the Friends Provident Foundation. TGV CIC is a local social enterprise with experience of community woodland and energy projects.

What work will be done during the feasibility study?

The most important work will be working with communities to explore what it might mean and to understand the risks and opportunities.  The feasibility project will be seeking to answer some of the following questions:

  • What is the best way to govern a community land project? How do you ensure inclusivity and fairness?  What is the experience from Scotland and elsewhere in Europe?
  • Are there sustainable business models that will mean that the community is not reliant on continual grant income? What are the capital and skills requirements to develop the ideas that have been developed by the community.
  • What is the environmental impact of any change in land use? How can we ensure that we improve and don’t further damage the landscape? 
  • What are the legal implications of the transfer of management responsibility?

But all of this work is driven by the vision that the community will develop for their landscape – their plans and visions for the next 5 years and the next 100 years!

What happens at the end of the feasibility study?

This will very much depend on the outcome of the feasibility study.  Potentially a community may be able to put the plans into practice if we can demonstrate that social and economic benefits of community land management outweigh the risks – and that crucially – that there is widespread support for the idea across the community. We will also need to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the current landowners and managers, that community management can bring benefits to everyone.

But is a journey into the unknown. This hasn’t been tried in Wales before, so can’t be certain where we will end up!

​​E-mail us on skyline@thegreenvalleys.org.



Governance models

Part of the work undertaken within the Skyline Project will be to ask the question about how community land projects should be governed. We will be looking to the experiences of Scotland and further afield to identify effective governance structures.  What does good governance look like?  What is the relationship of community land projects with elected representatives?

Group pic treherbert

Sustainable business models

What are the sustainable business models that are appropriate within each valley?  We will be looking across Scotland and the rest of Europe to find examples of successful enterprises, private and social, that can create income and jobs within the valley.

outside the library