£16m funding to boost 'adventure tourism' across Wales

Snowdonia National Park as seen from Snowdon About £4m will go towards Snowdonia's Eryri Centre of Excellence

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Nearly £16m has been awarded to boost outdoor and adventure activities across Wales.

The money which is mostly from European funding and local councils will create four tourism "centres".

In north Wales, more than £6m will be spent improving cycling facilities and activities capitalising "upon the area's outstanding natural beauty".

In the south, an off-road cycling centre of excellence will be built and a scheme to link garden attractions.

Start Quote

These centres will provide world class facilities in a wide range of outdoor tourism activities”

End Quote Alun Ffred Jones Heritage Minister

The projects include a North Wales Cycling Activity Tourism Centre of Excellence, which includes a £2.2m plan to improve facilities across Denbighshire and Conwy.

The cycling centre at Coed Llandegla, near Wrexham, will be upgraded, and a "natural trail" linking Llangollen, Llandegla, Corwen and the Dee Valley built.

Money will also be spent improving facilities at Betws y Coed and Llyn Brenig in Conwy.

Denbighshire council welcomed the announcement, saying the schemes would bring an estimated 40,000 extra visitors.

In Snowdonia, more than £4m will go towards the Eryri Centre of Excellence, which will be based across four sites.

There will be an activity centre, and the mountain biking trails at Coed y Brenin, near Dolgellau, will be expanded.

A downhill cycling track will be developed around the old Llechwedd Quarry in Blaenau Ffestiniog, and another will link the Gwynedd village of Llanuwchllyn with the Urdd's Glan Llyn site near Bala.

Gwynedd council said it would help promote the area as a "world class outdoor activities destination".

A man mountain biking It is hoped Wales will boast "world class" cycling centres

Emyr Williams, of Snowdonia National Park Authority, said the projects would "benefit the local economy and the local communities of Snowdonia".

In south Wales, more than £5m will be spent trying to create the "best all-round, purpose-built trail centre in the UK" at Afan Forest Park in Neath Port Talbot.

The project will also include a "world-leading commercial bike park" in the Heads of the Valley area at Gethin Woods in Merthyr Tydfil.

Also in south Wales, more than £4.5m will go towards creating a "One Historic Garden" centre of excellence.

The project hopes to improve gardens attractions in south west Wales - such as Bryngarw Country park and Colby Woodland Garden - and link them with a trail.

The investment will include improvements to visitor centres, access and footpaths.

Pembrokeshire councillor Rob Lewis said the authority estimated the scheme would attract more than two million extra visitors by 2014.

Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones said: "These centres will provide world class facilities in a wide range of outdoor tourism activities and will showcase what Wales has to offer to visitors as a sustainable tourism destination."

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