THE Welsh Government Minister for Economy, Vaughan Gething visited Llys-y-Frân Reservoir in Pembrokeshire today (Thursday 15 July) as part of an official opening ceremony to mark the relaunch of the visitor attraction and recreational facilities, following major redevelopment.
The opening celebration, which took place just one month after the lake re-opened its gates to visitors, saw the minister, along with Peter Perry, CEO of Welsh Water and Mike James, Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council, officially open the new attraction ahead of the holiday season.
The Minister was also taken on a tour of the attraction, where he got to enjoy a showcase of all the new land and water-based activities visitors can enjoy on site. These include the mountain bike skills area and tarmac pump track, a selection of water-based sports, archery, axe throwing and Crazy Bugz electric buggies. Swim Wales also held Open Water Training sessions throughout the day in preparation for the site to offer open water swimming sessions in the coming months.
Local children from Ysgol Gymunedol Maenclochog and Ysgol Y Preseli were also invited to the celebration to enjoy ‘having-a-go’ at a selection of the land and water-based activities now on offer.
Visitors were entertained during the celebration by the musical talents of Eliza Bradbury, 13 from Haverfordwest High School, who was invited to attend the event to play a series of melodies for visitors on her harp. Eliza is one of the young people across the county who benefits from weekly tuition from the Pembrokeshire Music Service. The service recognises the importance of music in the lives of young people and supports schools in providing children with the highest quality of music education possible.
As part of the celebration Eco therapist Suzi Tarrant from Narbeth led Forest Bathing walks, where visitors were able to get closer to nature and thoroughly immerse themselves in the natural woodlands and grasslands surrounding the lake.
The Welsh Government Minister for Economy, Vaughan Gething said “After such a difficult 16 months for the tourism sector it is wonderful to see Llys-y-Fran open following major redevelopment and providing a much-needed boost to the regional visitor economy. Llys-y-Fran is part of Welsh Government’s Tourism Attractor Destination programme, led by Visit Wales, which is creating 11 “must-see destinations” across Wales.”
Mike James, Chair of the Pembrokeshire County Council said, “The people of Pembrokeshire have been eagerly anticipating the re-opening of Llys-y-Frân since it closed its gates four years ago to undergo redevelopment.
“The area has been in need of an attraction like Llys-y-Frân for a long-time, where people can participate in water-based activities in a safe and controlled environment. Although we are right on the coast, the tides, waves and weather conditions impact on the ability for people to enjoy sports such as paddle boarding, kayaking and canoeing. However, now Llys-y-Frân can now offer an alternative location for people to enjoy these sports all year round, while also offering an abundance of other land-based activities too.”
Peter Perry, CEO of Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water said “The re-opening of Llys-y-Frân is just part of a major investment programme by Welsh Water to develop our visitor attractions as hubs for health and wellbeing.
“Our business is no longer simply about pipes and providing clean and recycling dirty water, it is also about offering people the chance to reconnect with nature and water through our visitor attractions. By working in partnership with Welsh Government, Visit Wales and Pembrokeshire County Council we have been able to deliver transformational change at Llys-y-Frân. Open all year round, we expect to attract 100k visitors a year and create 45 jobs for local people. We hope that locals and visitors alike enjoy exploring the fabulous new facilities at Llys-y-Frân and are inspired to have a go at the many activities on offer.
By 2025 we will have five regional visitor and recreational centres across Wales, each offering a range of wellbeing activities. As a ‘not profit’ business we are able to direct investment into these type of areas for the direct benefit of customers and the respective local economy.”
Llys-y-Frân Lake offers visitors over 350 acres to explore either by foot with their four-legged friends, on two wheels or by water. It is open all year round and is free to enter, although car parking charges do apply. The site offers a refurbished visitor centre and café, a brand-new outdoor activity centre, cycle trails that weave in and out of woodlands and a new tarmac pump skills track. Shower, changing facilities and meeting room options with spectacular views are also available on site.
The Activity Centre offers visitors the opportunity to hire watersports equipment, purchase self-launch tickets and fishing permits or hire a bike. The reservoir track is accessible for walkers and mountain bikers, alongside mountain bike trails and a tarmac pump track and skills area. While the children’s adventure playground is open to younger visitors to the lake. Younger visitors can also partake in archery, axe throwing, climbing or crazy bugz buggies. However, it is advised that all activities should be booked online prior to arrival at the site to avoid disappointment.
The £5m redevelopment at Llys-y-Frân, which sits on the foothills of the Preseli Mountains, was backed with £1.7 million of European Regional Development Funds through the Welsh Government. The project is part of the Welsh Government’s Tourism Attractor Destination programme, led by Visit Wales, which aims to create 11 “must see destinations” across Wales. The revamped Llys-y-Frân intends to attract an estimated 100,000 tourists and outdoor enthusiasts each year – 40,000 up from previous years.