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Press Release

Investment at Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre creates a new Valleys Regional Park Discovery Gateway

19 August 2022

The Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre in Port Talbot’s Afan Valley is ready to welcome visitors this bank holiday after significant public and private sector investment in new facilities to create an exciting new offer to visitors.

Investment at Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre creates a new Valleys Regional Park Discovery Gateway

As a result of £498,000 investment from Welsh Government via the Valleys Regional Park initiative and Neath Port Talbot Council, the popular tourist destination now has a brand new children’s adventure play area, enhanced car parking, updated shower and public toilet facilities, outdoor lighting in addition to new information panels within the visitor centre.

Visitors will also soon benefit from new camper van electric hook-up points and electric vehicle (EV) charging points.

In addition to this recent public sector investment at Afan Forest Park there are also two new high profile private sector investments underway.

Local couple Ben Threlfall and Vicky Sloan, owners of Afan Valley Bike Shed, have recently invested in a new purpose built bike shop and bike hire facility onsite. Ben and Vicky said, ‘Our new facility at Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre car park has enabled us to secure the long term future of our business in the area. It’s been a challenging process but we are delighted to open the doors to public and continue to offer our services to visitors to Afan Forest Park’

A new operator has also recently been secured at the Visitor Centre. New leaseholder, Sam Melton, is investing the high quality Headstock Café and the new Headstock Campsite, located to the rear of the visitor centre.  Sam said, ‘We are pleased to invest in this popular facility, we have big plans for the future and look forward to welcoming both the local community and visitors to the Afan Forest Park over the coming years’.

Already one of the most well established mountain biking destinations in the UK with a wealth of beautiful walking and cycling trails, Afan Forest Park is now part of a network of Valleys Regional Park Discovery Gateways located across the South Wales Valleys.

Valleys Regional Park (VRP) is a partnership of government and non-government organisations focussed on using the outstanding landscape and green spaces of the Valleys for improved health, wellbeing, skills, learning and prosperity. The VRP Discovery Gateways are designed to act as “launch pads” into the landscape and heritage that make up The Valleys story. They are places where visitors can get out and about, have fun, explore the local landscape and find out more about nature.

Phil Lewis, programme lead for the Valleys Regional Park said, ‘Afan Forest Park is a hugely valued member of the VRP Discovery Gateway network. The park is now a superb example of public and private sector investment coming together to support such an important resource for local people and visitors from further afield. We look forward to building on this momentum as we continue our work together in delivering the ambitions of the Valleys Regional Park vision’.

Cllr Steven Hunt, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council said, ‘We are pleased to see such significant public and private sector investment in the Afan Valley. It is a key objective of the Council’s new rainbow coalition to encourage investment within the valleys areas of our county and also to support the growth of the visitor economy within the area. The new facilities are already proving very popular with visitors to Afan Forest Park and we wish Afan Valley Bike Shed and the Headstock Group well in their new ventures.

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