Afan has amazing trails but it is also a deprived area. It also as a major MTB venue, suffered over the last few years from a) deforestation and b) a loss of MTB traffic to BikePark Wales and CwmCarn. Although with the latter you could easily argue they bring the whole South Wales region to the forefront of the UK visitor as an ever more attractive destination creating in time economic agglomeration benefits. Either way, the news to bring a £130million Center Parcs-style adventure retreat to South Wales is fantastic news and welcomed.
The initial first stage plans for the Afan Valley Adventure Resort has been submitted and it is estimated it will bring 1,000 new jobs and attract 260,000 visitors a year.
The proposed 500-acre site is just south of Afan Forest Park, close to Cymmer and Croeserw. There will be 600 cabins, a 100-bed hotel, spa, central ‘plaza’ with restaurants and shops and dozens of different adventure sports including MTB.
The park will be split into four zones: Trail, Xtreme, Forest and Alpine (for Ski slopes). Indoors there will be skydiving, surfing, roller skating, trampolining and ‘ninja warrior’ training.Then close by using the parc as a hub people can go go-karting, do off-road adventures, canoeing, climbing, paintballing and of course, use the existing mountain biking trail network made up of 5 world-class trails and a mini bike park centre.
The Xtreme zone incorporates BMX, mountain biking, surfing, skydiving and skateboarding. On top, there will be a Bear Grylls Survival Academy.
So when does this likely open? Northern Powerhouse Developments envisage a kick-off launch is estimated in 2021. Frankly, sounds like Centre Parcs with wings and for South Wales a major boost that will increase traffic to the whole area and the wider MTB centres and the businesses that depend on them. Thinking of Afan and my parochial loyalties that are likely shared by many. I still want to stay at my faves like Afan Lodge and be able to use the facilities of the resort :).
Well worth checking out the Afan Valley Adventure Resort site.
South Wales is fast becoming the centre of sporting excellence.