Dare Valley County Park Play Area to Open Following Investment

Written by on 14th August 2020

Families and children will be able to enjoy the significantly upgraded play area at the hugely popular Dare Valley Country Park from this Saturday (August 15) – following a substantial investment in the facility.

At the end of July, the Council provided an update on the progress of the various linked projects that are ongoing at the popular visitor destination as part of a £1.5m total investment package, made up from a combination of Welsh Government funding through the Valleys Regional Park programme (£1m) and the Council’s own capital investment (£500,000).

The investment in the play area, which forms part of the wider funding package, has allowed for an increase in the play provision on offer through the inclusion of modern, accessible equipment and new apparatus that both reflects the natural beauty of the wider Park and encourages physical challenge.

Councillor Ann Crimmings, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Leisure and Heritage Services, said: “I am delighted to confirm that the improved play area at Dare Valley Country Park will be available for children and families to make use of from this weekend (Saturday, August 15).

“I recently attended the site as part of a wider visit to see progress on the various projects ongoing and I was hugely impressed by the fantastic equipment that the play area will offer.

“From a bespoke wooden climbing unit, to a wheelchair-accessible roundabout and a Flying Fox, the facility will cater to a wide range of ages and abilities, and I am sure it will be a big hit with families and visitors to the beautiful Country Park.

“The Council has identified children’s play as a vital aspect of development for our future generations and we have invested significantly in this area since 2015, with over 125 of approximately 200 of the Council’s play areas improved by the end of this financial year as part of a £4m total investment between 2015/16 and 2020/21.”

In addition to the play area improvements, the investment package is also allowing for improvements in the following areas:

· A bike hire service, located opposite the main visitor car park. The design will make use of converted shipping containers designed to reflect the outdoor nature of the park, while a large number of secure cycle racks will encourage bike hire and provide a secure location for visitors to store their own bikes. A dedicated cycle lane and footpath will be created between the main car park and the hire station.

· A series of family-friendly bike trails, to build on local offerings from other providers like Bike Park Wales. The trails will cater for the family market and set up as a ‘green’ (entry level) category. They will be located on the north-facing slope of Penrhiwllech Mountain, opposite the Visitor Centre. It will be

accessible via an uplift service, which will place cyclists at the highest point (100m) of the trails. This will be located next to the bike hire station and benefit from a mini-bus parking zone. The existing vehicular access route running part way up the northern slope will be lengthened and resurfaced. The trails will be expanded in the future to cater for more experienced riders.

· Four pump tracks, each with its own unique layout and located at different locations along the trails and finished with a variety of surface materials.

· Refurbishment of the Dare Valley Hotel. The independently-run hotel will initially benefit from a scheme of significant refurbishments – first through improved bathrooms (new toilets, basins, shower fittings and hot water system repairs), followed by bedroom improvements which will be redecorated in line with the new Dare Valley brand.

· Refurbishment and extension of the shower block. It is proposed the family changing areas are accessed independently of the existing male/female facilities – operating as a unisex facility catering for pushchairs, wheelchairs and buggies. One of the new family changing areas will accommodate enhanced accessible features such as a ceiling-mounted hoist and adult-sized changing table. Sanitary fittings, floors and ceilings of the existing block will also be improved.

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