£6m project bridges the gap at Harlech Castle for the first time in 600 years

Wednesday 21 January 2015

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  • Harlech Castle

    The Harlech Castle site.

  • Harlech Castle

    A section of the new bridge is lifted by the on-site crane.

  • Harlech Castle

    A section of the new bridge is lifted by the on-site crane.

  • Harlech Castle

    A section of the new bridge is lowered into place.

  • Harlech Castle

    A section of the new bridge is lowered into place.

A new bridge installed at Harlech Castle today (21 January) will allow visitors to enter the site through the original historic entrance for the first time in more than 600 years.

The spectacular ‘floating’ bridge will be craned into place creating a link from the terrace area directly into the Castle gatehouse at the World Heritage Site.

The work has been funded through the Heritage Tourism Project, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and led by Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service.

As well as the installation of the bridge, the £5.8m project also is seeing the transformation of the former Harlech Castle hotel and car park.

The ground floor of the former hotel will act as a brand new visitor centre including an audio-visual experience, retail area and a tearoom.

The first and second floors of the hotel will be refurbished into five 5 star apartments in a bid which will provide much needed high class accommodation for the town and surrounding area.

“The key purpose of this project has been to deliver the Welsh Government’s vision of presenting the castle and its history in a way that does justice to its status as a World Heritage Site,” said Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism.

“In so doing so we have created a better visitor offer that will aim to bring increased tourism and the associated economic benefits to the area.

“Across Wales, our historic environment supports more than 30,000 jobs and contributes more than £840 million to Wales’ economy each year. That’s why in 2015 we’ll be introducing the Heritage Bill to the Senedd; we want to take action to protect our past so that it continues to make a difference to the people of Wales, both now and in the future.”

Throughout the project, Cadw has worked with members of the public, nearby tourist attraction providers and local businesses. The project is due for completion in summer 2015.

The Heritage Tourism Project, which launched in 2009, has supported more than 40 historic sites across Wales, working in partnership with various heritage bodies to deliver improvements to interpretation, physical access and even involving the local arts communities in bringing the sites to life for visitors.

The aim of HTP is to increase the number, length and value of visits to heritage sites in Wales, opening up Wales’s heritage to a wider audience by making it more enjoyable both for visitors and residents.