The minister opens the new building at Ogwen

The minister opens the new building at Ogwen

Walkers will be able to follow the footsteps of Charles Darwin with the opening of a new visitor centre in Snowdonia.

Guided walks will start from the new facilities at Ogwen, where Darwin’s imagination was fired almost 200 years ago.

Minister of Culture and Sport John Griffiths opened the building and bosses hope it will encourage thousands of visitors who visit Cwm Idwal each year.

Work on the Dyffryn Ogwen, which replaced an old centre and warden’s office, began in September last year.

The project was run by the Cwm Idwal Partnership which includes Snowdonia National Park Authority, Natural Resources Wales and the National Trust as part of the EU-backed Communities and Nature funding scheme.

Mr Griffiths said: “It’s always heartening to see a project like this develop through effective partnership.

“Providing good facilities and information to visitors and potential visitors helps greatly in encouraging people out to the countryside.”

Aneurin Phillips of Snowdonia National Park Authority said: “We wanted the new building to achieve three things. It had to be sustainable, fit for purpose and fitting to its environment.

“Today, the new facilities which are available here fulfil all of these.

“The new centre will improve people’s understanding and enjoyment of Cwm Idwal and the Ogwen Valley, as well as attracting a wider audience to take advantage of all the opportunities that this area has to offer.”

Materials to build the centre came from Penrhyn Quarry in Bethesda and Cwt y Bugail Quarry in Blaenau Ffestiniog.

At the official opening, guided walks to Cwm Idwal took place with poet Ieuan Wyn and other mountain leaders, with entertainment from the singer Lleuwen at the lake.

Adam Sedgwick, Charles Darwin’s mentor, said: “I can not promise to teach you all geology, I can only fire your imagination.”

The previous building was originally designed as a garage, snack kiosk and toilets at the end of 1970.

Guided walks to Cwm Idwal have also been organised for the summer.

More details are available from the Cwm Idwal Partnership officer Guto Roberts by emailing him or phoning 07917215253.

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