Cwm Idwal. Photo: Tony Cassidy CC BY-SA 2.0

Cwm Idwal. Photo: Tony Cassidy CC BY-SA 2.0

Authorities in north Wales have revealed plans for a new visitor centre in the heart of climbing and walking country.

A replacement for the ageing Ogwen Warden Centre below the Cwm Idwal will better serve the 250,000 visitors who use it annually.

The Cwm Idwal Partnership, consisting of the Snowdonia National Park Authority, the National Trust and the Countryside Council for Wales, is seeking the view of outdoors enthusiasts on the proposed building at the car park at the foot of the path up to Llyn Idwal, the Glyderau and the climbing grounds of the cwm, Wales’s first national nature reserve.

The national park authority’s director of land management Emyr Williams said: “The old facilities here are not fit for purpose and don’t meet the expectations of today’s visitor.

“Through this initiative, our intention is to transform the centre and create an attractive gateway to Snowdonia which will, in turn, improve people’s understanding and enjoyment of Cwm Idwal. This cwm is the star attraction for visitors and, by improving the facilities here, we hope to attract a broader audience and more leisure opportunities in the area.”

The Cwm Idwal Partnership has consulted with outdoor education leaders and outdoor activity providers about the facilities needed on the site. A design brief was prepared and the architect company, Dewis, was appointed to produce a design.

Dewis’s proposed building will provide office space for site managers and enterprises; an area for interpreting Cwm Idwal and surrounding mountains; toilets; 24-hour access to information; a refreshments outlet; a covered outdoor area and parking for cars and bikes.

An architect's drawing of the planned new building

An architect's drawing of the planned new building

The design, together with its suitability and use, will form the main discussions at five consultation meetings next month.

The dates and venues are: 4 April, 7pm, Capel Curig Community Centre; 5 April, 7pm, Plas y Brenin; a drop-in session will also take place the same day at Ty’n y Coed Hotel, Capel Curig, between 11am and 5pm; 6 April, 7pm, Neuadd Ogwen, Bethesda, with a drop-in the same day at the same venue between 10am and 4pm.

The plans also include a 350m path to complete a lower level circular walk around Llyn Idwal.

Tim Jones of the Countryside Council for Wales said: “There is a fantastic story to tell visitors at Ogwen, the gateway to Cwm Idwal, Wales’s first national nature reserve.

“It will enhance their enjoyment of this spectacular landscape, and its internationally renowned geology and wildlife. However, before progressing to the next step of seeking planning permission for the building, it is crucial that we find out what people think of the design and hear their ideas about how we use the new facility.  We are looking forward to a wide range of ideas during our consultation sessions.”

Rhys Evans, from the National Trust said: “We very much welcome the park’s proposals. The numbers of people visiting to enjoy Cwm Idwal are increasing each year and the building is now not fit for purpose. New facilities will attract more people to the area thus contributing to the local economy.”

Cash for the project is coming from the Communities and Nature strategic project, funded by the European Regional Development fund and the Countryside Council for Wales, through the Welsh Assembly Government.

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