Eleven Valleys parks and heritage sites named as Discovery Gateways, now including Cefn Coed Mining Museum and Parc Penallta, will share more than £6.6 million to maximise the potential of the area’s natural and cultural assets.
First Minister Mark Drakeford and Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, with responsibility for the Valleys Taskforce, Lee Waters, made the announcement during a visit to Cefn Coed Mining Museum. The museum will receive £1.8m of funding from the Valleys Taskforce in addition to more than £1.5m which has already been committed by Welsh Government for specialist treatment and delicate repair of the headframes at Cefn Coed. These combined funds will enable the development of an exemplar Discovery Gateway site for the Valleys Regional Park which will draw on the cultural, industrial and environmental heritage of the western valleys.
Other Discovery Gateway improvements to benefit from investment include the development of family accessible bike trails at Dare Valley Country Park, and a new visitor centre at Parc Penallta which will provide a much needed base for a programme of community focussed activities supporting economic and social well-being.
Bryngarw Country Park, Blaenavon World Heritage Centre, Cyfarthfa Park, Cwmcarn Forest Drive, Caerphilly Castle, Parc Brynbach, Parc Slip and Ynysangharad War Memorial Park will also receive funding to realise the ambitions of the Valleys Regional Park.
The aim of the Valleys Regional Park is to unlock and maximise the potential of the natural and associated cultural heritage of the Valleys to generate social, economic and environmental benefits.
The investment in the Discovery Gateways is crucial to ensuring these sites have the capacity to provide safe and welcoming spaces that can be enjoyed by the local community as well as visitors from further afield. The sites will work together to ensure we make the most of the world class and diverse landscapes we have throughout the Valleys.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
It’s been great to visit Cefn Coed Mining Museum today and learn about the exciting plans they have as Discovery Gateway.
As well as becoming destinations in their own right, Discovery Gateways have a great opportunity to tell the stories of the Valleys and encourage local people and visitors to explore the surrounding areas, including local towns and villages, and the wider landscape.
I am very pleased Welsh Government support will enable them to bring the area’s history, culture and natural assets to life and I look forward to seeing these important projects progress for the benefit of the region.
Deputy Minister for Economy with responsibility for the Valleys Taskforce, Lee Waters said:
Today’s announcement which includes two additional Discovery Gateway sites in Cefn Coed Mining Museum and Parc Penallta, provide an exciting opportunity to develop new facilities that fully reflect our ambitions for the Valleys Regional Park.
These projects will put the Valleys Regional Park on the map nationally and internationally as a place which can inspire, excite and attract visitors from near and far. They will also provide opportunities for economic growth which is a key aim of the Valleys Taskforce.
These plans have been developed through extensive engagement with Valleys communities and I look forward to continuing to work together to bring the Valleys Regional Park to life.