Our newest campus is located in Treherbert – situated at the top of the Rhondda Fawr valley, Treherbert is a village overlooked by the spectacular flat-headed spur mountain, Pen Pych. The village is on the southern boundary of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Since the 1970s the spoil heaps in the area have been colonized by trees which has created a rich new woodland.

We were excited to partner trail-blazing community group Welcome to Our Woods last year, and in September 2023 we launched Level 2 NVQ courses at our Treherbert location.

Our further education expansion to Treherbert is a part of a pioneering community project under the headline ‘Project Skyline’ that began as a community consultation on managing the re-forested spoil heaps around the former mining town. We partnered up to train the local community to grow food and manage the woodlands as part of a larger Lottery Climate Action Fund bid with multiple partners.

Treherbert Learning Sites

Our further education courses at Trehebert are taught at various locations across the village in a distributed campus model. We are still developing some areas, but our current facilities and locations for lessons include:

  • The Old Library which is in the village centre. A multi-use open space venue, used for indoor woodworking skills sessions, as well as some core skills sessions.
  • Penyrenglyn Project Community and Family Site – Regenerative Horticulture is taught here, which has another indoor learning space and students have access to the surrounding community gardens which have a polytunnel, potting shed and raised beds. Current students form and maintain the beds here.
  • Cwm Saerbren Woods – students have established a coppicing site and outdoor learning takes place here.
  • Community orchard space near the Penyrenglyn project – students have been working in partnership with the community to develop this.
  • The Old Brewery site – an area that is currently in development with Welcome to our Woods and Down to Earth but is used for student, social and community events at the moment, with a large workshop/shed currently in production for future use as a woodworking studio.
  • A roundhouse at the Old Brewery Site – our students contributed towards building this, which is used occasionally as a social space for BMC students but more regularly utilised for other Welcome to our Woods events and courses such as Woodland Therapy sessions!
  • Crop Cycle Treherbert – this is a community growing space in the centre of the village, regenerated from a derelict garage forecourt. This offers a polytunnel, various planters and a high-tech aquaponics lab (although this is not a module within BMC Horticulture NVQ). This area is most often used by locals for various community events.

The amount of time spent at each of the above locations varies.

Community-based learning

Our learning is embedded within the local community, a significant objective of the project, so that the learning will have positive social and ecological outcomes too. This makes the training we provide meaningful and urgent, and the lessons learned durable and transferable.

BMC is integral in providing education and training for people within the area and beyond, which will in turn allow the Skyline vision to materialize. We need to teach people how to manage land sustainably, how to provide for themselves, how to make use of the Earth’s natural materials to our benefit in a viable manner, how to grow food, how to manage the local woodlands and restore nature, and how to ensure there is a future for the generations to come..

Woodworking in the woodlands

What is Project Skyline?

Project Skyline has been in the works for the past few years, and the overall aim is to give local people the means to shape their own environment.. Not in a fragmented approach, and not a small patch of land just for a few years, but providing hundreds of hectares to locals for use for hundreds of years – to the “skyline”.

Project Skyline looks to offer local communities the chance to see their values and visions for the future reflected in the way land that surrounds them is managed. The initial feasibility work identified what a community might choose to do with land if they could plan for many years to come.. would they create jobs from forestry? Support small-holdings or food projects? Improve public access? Support wildlife? Or a combination of these ideas? This work was completed in 2019 with funding from the Friends Provident Foundation. You can read the full Skyline Feasibility Report.


Skyline is about land, people and imagination.

The Skyline project seeks to reconnect communities in the South Wales Valleys with the landscape that surrounds the town and aligns greatly with BMC’s vision – imagining a different future! Imagine a future in which land is managed sustainably to meet the needs of the people who live there in a way that doesn’t compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This also aligns with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act which requires public bodies in Wales to consider the long-term impact of their decisions, to work better with people, communities and each other, and to prevent persistent problems such as poverty, health inequalities and climate change.

Giving communities a connection to landscape can provide income, jobs, a place of social and cultural activity, and a home for nature. A psychological bond between community, economy and landscape is forged. It is a mistake to see these post-industrial landscapes as abandoned or of no ecological importance. The coal spoil sites are the home to species of conservation concern. There is the opportunity for land use change to provide spaces and projects for nature’s restoration.


More recently, Project Skyline was revisited through the Future Forest Vision community/NRW co-design process through 2021-22 with more partnerships formed. This consists of 8 visions,

  • Growing Food: experiment with growing food within sections of forest (agroforestry) as well as growing food under cover for local people.
  • The Forest as a Place for Learning: the forest will be a resource for learning for everyone.
  • Generate Renewable Energy: generate renewable energy from the landscape and to be able to use it to meet the needs of local people.
  • Promoting Physical and Mental Wellbeing: develop spaces in the forest that people can enjoy to promote good mental and physical health.
  • Making the Forest Accessible: make the forest to be as accessible as possible for locals and visitors.
  • Cwm Saerbren Nature Reserve: a long-term vision to create a reserve across the cwm.
  • Forestry Social Enterprise: establish a social enterprise that will be capable of supporting paid employees to undertake a range of forest management tasks.
  • Plant the Next Generation Forest: planning sustainable forestry to create jobs and supply timber for future generations.

How to reach us

The best place to meet us is always The Old Library, Bute St, Treherbert, Treorchy CF42 5NR

Treherbert has strong public transport links via bus or train, with a direct train running to Treherbert directly from Cardiff Central and Pontypridd.


Treherbert is around 30-minutes from Merthyr Tydfil, and around 1-hour from Cardiff, Newport and Swansea.


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