New Wildlife Visitor Centre Set to Stimulate Tourism Opportunities

Parc Slip Nature Reserve, once a colliery site, is now host to an entirely different opportunity for visitors and local people providing a tourism attraction and welcome boost to the local economy.

Dr Rhys Jones and Rudi Bright (Tarka Challenge) sniffing snake poo, photo by Mike Bright

Dr Rhys Jones and Rudi Bright (Tarka Challenge) sniffing snake poo, photo by Mike Bright

The site has been transformed over the years by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales into a stunning nature reserve. With the support from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government as part of the Valleys Regional Park Programme, a previously underused building at the reserve has been transformed into a visitor centre and coffee shop with conference facilities.

On 25th May the visitor centre will be opened by First Minister, The Rt. Hon Carwyn Jones AM, AC who will be taking part in a little bit of first hand wildlife watching with local children off the nearby pond dipping platform.

The First Minister said:

“This project provides an excellent example of how the Welsh Government is using EU funding to stimulate tourism opportunities in the Valleys based on our natural resources. As well as providing a first class facility for education and local people, four  new jobs have already been created at the centre as a result of the project, and it is expected to support the creation of several more in the local area through increased visitor numbers in the future.”

The centre will host a wide range of activities which allow people of all ages to get to know more about the rich wildlife on their doorstep. As part of the wider Valleys Regional Park network of visitor centres, sites and facilities, it will provide a jumping off point for people wanting to explore the areas rich wildlife and cultural heritage.

Rob Parry, Conservation Manager, said “Completion of the centre is an exciting milestone in the history of the Wildlife Trust. It will serve as a hub of information on nature conservation for visitors, voluntary groups and local schools. It provides an opportunity for cyclists and walkers using the national cycle network to stop off on route for a refreshment break. The centre will also act as a base for outreach work, with the emphasis on “hands on” experience for volunteers.”

As well as European Funding, the visitor centre has benefited from a Biffa grant award and a legacy from local volunteer, Karen Morris.