Minister goes back to the future at Castell Henllys Iron Age Village

Friday 15 May 2015

A popular visitor attraction boasting replica Iron Age roundhouses built exactly where they would have stood 2,400 years ago has received a modern makeover; with new improvements including an upgraded Visitor Centre and an interactive app.

Ken Skates is pictured with National Park Authority Chairman Cllr Mike James, Chief Executive Tegryn Jones, Castell Henllys Manager Rhonwen Owen and Castell Henllys staff Liz Rooney and Karen Everson

Ken Skates is pictured with National Park Authority Chairman Cllr Mike James, Chief Executive Tegryn Jones, Castell Henllys Manager Rhonwen Owen and Castell Henllys staff Liz Rooney and Karen Everson

Castell Henllys Iron Age Village was officially re-opened on 14 May, during a visit by Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates.

Speaking at the opening Mr Skates said: “This excellent project is enhancing visitors’ experience of Castell Henllys by using modern technology to bring the past to life, giving visitors a clearer idea of what it was really like to live during the Iron Age.

“Over and over again visitors cite heritage as a key reason to visit Wales and research has found that sites which have benefited from our Heritage Tourism Project bring up to £19m to our economy annually. It’s important that we keep our offer fresh and inviting. I recently announced a series of themed years for Welsh tourism, starting with a Year of Adventure in 2016. The adventures of discovery and time travel here at Castell Henllys are perfect examples of what families can enjoy during 2016”

The attraction, which is owned and run by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, received funding for the project from Cadw’s Heritage Tourism Project (part funded by the European Regional Development Fund – ERDF); the Visit Wales Digital Tourism Business Framework (funded by the ERDF) and the Welsh Government’s Targeted Match Fund (TMF).

The funds have paid for an extension of the existing visitor centre building to provide new exhibitions including interactive displays and a café as well as an interactive app for smartphone and tablets.

The investment has allowed the Park Authority to bring augmented reality* to the Castell Henllys site for the first time. Renewable technology has also been introduced, including a biomass boiler, to help reduce the Park Authority’s carbon footprint and to reduce running costs at the Castell Henllys site.

The project will also introduce visitors to wider prehistoric Pembrokeshire, linking Castell Henllys with seven other important heritage sites in this special corner of the National Park including the Pentre Ifan burial chamber.

Park Authority Chairman, Cllr Mike James added: “Castell Henllys is a unique site, set deep in the world-class National Park landscape. We hope these new developments will encourage even more people to visit the site and strengthen its reputation as a fun family day out.

“This site provides a great example of how our ancestors lived in harmony with the landscape, which is an important message about sustainable living that the National Park Authority is keen to share with people today.

“We are confident that this substantial investment will enhance the local tourism offer and will bring wider economic benefits to this area and Pembrokeshire as a whole.”

The construction work was carried out by Whitland-based contractor Dorian Phillips & Partners.