Bwlch Nant yr Arian is also at risk of closure, with Natural Resources Wales looking to cut costs
Three Welsh visitor centres including the hallowed Coed y Brenin could close this year, with the fate of the trails surrounding them unknown. That’s according to a report from the Cambrian News, which says Natural Resources Wales (NRW), the organisation that oversees the management of various environmental and natural resources in Wales, is conducting a review into three of its visitors centres as it looks to cut costs.
The three visitors centres under review include Coed y Brenin and Bwlch Nant yr Arian, which serve some of the best trail centre routes in the UK. If you want to make a quick trip across, we’ve got a guide to the Coed y Brenin trails for you to study. The third centre at risk is Ynyslas Visitor Centre.
The Head of Sustainable Commercial Development for NRW, Elsie Grace, told Cambrian news that “public funding is exceptionally tight across the whole of the UK. As such, we are having to look across all of our remit and critically review what we can and must continue to do, what we stop and what we slow.”
Any cuts from the spending review will take effect as early as 2024, according to the Cambrian News report, with a final decision expected by the end of March.
Grace continued: “Our visitor centres are part of this review, but no decision has yet been made on how they will operate in the future.”
The birthplace of mountain biking in the UK
The final decisions surrounding the centres will be made before the end of March, although it’s unclear how the mountain bike trails would operate if the visitor centre was to close.
This was first announced in early December, with ministers in Wales concerned about the damage to the economy closing such popular sites would bring. Liz Saville Roberts MP and Mabon ap Gwynfor MS commented:
”Visitor centres operated by Natural Resources Wales bring a wealth of recreational and economic benefits to the communities in which they’re located. We are therefore concerned to learn that the future of these centres, including the extremely popular Coed y Brenin in our constituency, are under review.
“Coed y Brenin is a much-loved centre amongst local people and visitors, supporting local jobs and bringing significant investment into the Meirionnydd economy. It is the UK’s first purpose-built mountain biking centre, is the starting point for walking and running trails, and attracts thousands of visitors from far and wide. Any potential talk of changing how these centres operate or their long-term future will understandably concern our constituents.”
The trails themselves have continued to be improved over the years, making it a popular destination for mountain bikers across the UK.
We’ve asked NRW to comment on the news, we’ll update this page when we have a response.