The attraction says there will be lots of festive fun thrown in too.
Mark Waite, mine guide, said: “Our vast underground caverns, hand dug by Victorian slate miners, provide a perfect setting to escape the workplace and enjoy some festive fun.
“Each Christmas exploration will be bespoke but adventure, fun and a safe environment are 100% guaranteed. This year has been tough and we wanted to provide a safe, fun space for staff teams to be rewarded this Christmas.”
The Underground Christmas Explorations can be arranged for an hour, two hours or half a day and are available to book from now until Christmas.
Individually tailored trips are available for a minimum of six explorers up to a team of 40. To arrange a bespoke Christmas Exploration, contact Mark Waite 01650 511720.
Mark Waite and Santa prepare for the Underground Christmas Explorations at Corris Mine Explorers.
You may be aware that independent research agency, Strategic Research & Insight (SRI), have been commissioned by Welsh Government to explore establishing a statutory registration or licensing scheme for holiday accommodation operators in Wales.
MWT will be speaking to SRI to share the views of our membership.
MWT members, please help us to collate your responses by completing our short survey. Your views are really important.
>> Complete survey here by 7th December 2021.
SRI will be speaking to stakeholders as well as researching best practice in other countries, to consider:
Visit Wales said, "There are significant potential benefits of the scheme, including a level playing field for professional and amateur accommodation operators, and a much better oversight of the sector to inform decision-making in tourism, housing, environmental health and taxation. We also recognise there are wider views and considerations that need to be explored.
As it will not be possible for SRI to speak to all tourism businesses as part of this work, please feed any comments you have through your representative body; these will help form the decision on whether a scheme is implemented, and if so, how."
New caravan and motorhome models for 2022 will be revealed by leading manufacturers at a Shropshire event next month.
The West Midlands Caravan & Motorhome New 2022 Model Show is being hosted by Salop Leisure at the company’s headquarters alongside Shrewsbury bypass at Emstrey from October 9 to 17.
The UK’s largest free caravan and motorhome show follows one of the busiest summers on record for the industry with staycationing booming due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
Ed Glover, Salop Leisure’s marketing manager, stressed that the company will be following the latest government pandemic advice to keep visitors and staff safe throughout the show.
“This show is a great opportunity to see a selection of the new 2022 caravan and motorhome models for the first time right here in Shropshire” he said. “Visitors can take their time to see all the new smart ideas, innovations and fresh designs on display. It’s a great day out for all the family.
“More British people than ever have staycationed this year, due to restrictions on foreign travel, which has been a great boost for the UK’s caravan and motorhome industry as well as tourism businesses.
“The percentage of first-time buyers has increased as families and couples recognise and appreciate the flexibility of owning a caravan or motorhome.”
The show, which provides free parking for visitors, will feature new touring caravans from the Swift Group and Coachman, new caravan holiday homes and luxury lodges from ABI, Atlas, Carnaby, Swift and Willerby and new motorhomes from the Swift group. Pre-owned models will also be available.
Visitors who invest in a caravan holiday home or luxury lodge will be helped by a holiday park finder service to identify their ideal location, with more than 250 parks to choose from in Mid Wales and the Heart of England. Park representatives will be on hand to provide information
Experts will also be on hand to guide first time buyers through the complete process of owning a touring caravan, motorhome or caravan holiday home.
Love Coffee restaurant will be open for snacks, meals and drinks throughout the show and staff at specialist plants centre, Love Plants, will have a wide selection of plants and advice to offer for autumn, winter and spring gardens.
Money raised by selling teas and coffees to customers during the show will be donated to the Lingen Davies Cancer Centre at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
Salop Leisure’s holiday homes trade associate director Dave Attfield with a customer at a previous West Midlands Caravan & Motorhome New Model Show.
Customers are offered a choice of six, carefully curated, spirit bases and up to three “hero” botanicals, including favourites such as rhubarb, Earl Grey and cardamom, to define the flavour profile.
Next, they name their creation and distiller – a thoughtful, personalised present for gin lovers. In the Welsh Wind then distils the gin to the customer’s bespoke recipe, labels the bottle by hand and packages it for delivery.
Gift vouchers for Tailor Your Gin, which cost £50, are also available, allowing the recipient to create a bespoke gin to their own favourite flavour profile. The voucher itself is luxuriously embossed with copper foil to create a beautiful present.
Ellen Wakelam, the distillery’s co-owner and director, said: “Sharing our love of gin and distillation with others has always been an important part of In The Welsh Wind.
“This online experience means that customers can still enjoy choosing botanicals and deciding on a name for their gin even if they can’t travel to West Wales. Both the personalised gin and the gift vouchers make thoughtful Christmas presents for the spirit lover in your life.”
Limited Edition Palo Cortado Cask Aged Gin|43% ABV |70cl |£45 RRP
Tailor Your Gin experience | £50
Tailor Your Gin gift voucher | £50
inthewelshwind.co.uk | @IntheWelshWind
Always innovating, fellow co-owner and director, Alex Jungmayr, has developed a limited-edition, cask-aged version of the distillery’s award-winning Signature Style Gin which is filled with deliciously festive flavour notes.
Inspired by Spanish sherries that would have been landed in New Quay, he selected Palo Cortado casks and rested 400 litres of Signature Style in them.
The casks lend beautiful almond notes and a rich colour to the Limited Edition Palo Cortado Cask Aged Gin (£45), while the finished product has rich spice, dried stone fruit and Christmas notes with juniper and citrus. The gin won a Master medal at The Gin Masters 2021.
“It’s almost as if we made Limited Edition Palo Cortado Cask Aged Gin with Christmas in mind!” said Alex. “The underlying warmth of the botanical profile of our Signature Style Gin is complemented beautifully by the rich spices it gains from its time spent in Palo Cortado sherry casks. Together, they create an exceptionally festive sipper.”
The three Christmas gifts are available to buy online at inthewelshwind.co.uk.
A Tailor Your Gin online experience.
Limited Edition Palo Cortado Cask Aged Gin.
>> In the Welsh Wind Distillery on Visit Mid Wales
The first major tourism and hospitality conference held in Wales since the Covid-19 pandemic began in the UK last year is to go ahead in Llandrindod Wells in November.
MWT Cymru has announced that the 2021 Mid Wales Tourism and Hospitality Conference will be held at The Metropole Hotel on November 9 from 9.45am to 3.30pm
To help ensure a safe conference, everyone attending must have an up to date NHS Covid pass, details of which are available at https://covid-status.service.nhsx.nhs.uk/
“We all have a responsibility to keep each other safe at this year’s conference,” said Val Hawkins, MWT Cymru’s chief executive. “Whilst the success of the vaccine programme in Wales has provided us with the opportunity to meet in-person this year, we all must take steps to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
MWT Cymru is an independent organisation that represents more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and the Meirionnydd region of Gwynedd.
“The tourism and hospitality sector has been one of the economic sectors hardest hit by the pandemic,” said Mrs Hawkins. “The focus of this year’s conference is to explore how individual businesses, communities and organisations can pull together and rebuild as we move forward to 2022 and beyond.
“With the unlikely return of the international market to the levels seen pre-pandemic for another few years, destinations across the UK will be focusing their attention on the domestic and staycation trend. With increased destination competition, how will Mid Wales compete?
“Our conference provides an opportunity to cover topics that matter most to tourism and hospitality businesses. It is an event not to be missed, no matter how big or small your business is.
“The conference is designed to give businesses a clearer idea of what's going on, what's changing and what we can all do to better work together to keep Mid Wales at the forefront of people's minds.”
Delegates will hear from experts in their fields and have an opportunity to network with other tourism and hospitality professionals, industry leaders, suppliers and business support organisations.
The line-up of speakers for the conference, which is being sponsored by pan-Wales apprenticeship provider Cambrian Training Company and supported by Visit Wales, will be announced in the next two weeks. For more information and to book tickets visit www.midwalestourismconference.co.uk
MWT Cymru’s membership and marketing manager Claire Owen chats with Populate Social founder Dan Simmons at the Mid Wales Tourism Conference in 2019.
National Resources Wales (NRW) are seeking your views about biodiversity on your land along the Wales Coast Path. They would like to learn from your experience.
NRW are asking landowners and farmers in Wales, with land along, adjoining, or near to the Wales Coast Path, to complete this short multiple-choice 20 question survey. It should take about 15 minutes of your time. If you are able to participate, please can you do so by Friday 15th October 2021.
Click here to start the survey: https://forms.office.com/r/epuuEvwXc7
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the Welsh Government, in collaboration with Gwynedd Council, have recently launched the ‘Ein Llwybrau Byw’ / Our Living Trails project which has the long-term aim to promote and restore biodiversity along the Wales Coast Path corridor. Binnies has been contracted by NRW to deliver this 9-month long project which also aims to promote greater connection between people and nature, so that more people understand the importance of a healthy and productive natural environment, and the benefits it brings to us.
Land along the 870-mile Wales Coast Path corridor includes farmland, open countryside, cliffs, meadows, beaches and urban environments. The land provides an important opportunity to address the challenges of biodiversity loss, climate change and coastal ‘squeeze’ whilst supporting resilient profitable farming businesses and a healthy resilient society. The project will be working in partnership with landowners, as they will be an integral part of the project. It will investigate ‘best practice’ and recommend an approach to ‘scale up’ the roll out of biodiversity improvement projects along the Wales Coast Path corridor, and potentially other national trails and rights of way in Wales in coming years.
The views NRW receive as part of this survey will be collated to inform the project recommendations. They will also be collated and summarised to inform a Stakeholder Workshop in November 2021. All responses are anonymous. You are invited to provide your email address if you want to receive a copy of the project’s next newsletter which will contain a summary of the survey findings.
You can learn more about the project by watching this video: Watch video
Visitors will be invited to pick your own pumpkins in the run up to Halloween as part of a successful farm diversification project in the Upper Severn Valley.
Having welcomed hundreds of visitors to Porth Farm, Moat Lane, Caersws since mid-August to see fields of blooming sunflowers, a maize maze and a woodland walk, Gerwyn Vaughan and Sarah Pinnell are now switching their focus to pumpkins.
They have planted a three-acre field with an estimated 16,000 edible pumpkins in six varieties and will be opening to visitors from October 9 to Halloween.
Visitors must book online at https://porthfarm.digitickets.co.uk/tickets to visit the farm to pick their own pumpkins. On arrival, they will be given a wheelbarrow to transport their pumpkins back to the farm where they will pay by card.
Porth Farm will also be running workshops on pumpkin carving, Halloween decorations and making autumnal wreaths accompanied by afternoon tea. A mobile food outlet will serve a range of refreshments, including home-made pumpkin soup, hot drinks and ice cream.
Visitors are advised to wear wellies and waterproofs in case of rain and no dogs will be allowed in the pumpkin field or public areas. Toilets will be available on site. Follow the latest news from Porth Farm on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/porthfarm .
“This is a chance for adults and children to slip on their wellies and gloves and head out into fields of sprawling vines to pick their perfect pumpkin,” said Sarah. “We have knobbly ones and wrinkly ones in different shapes and sizes, as there is a bountiful supply of shiny pumpkins in different colours.
“Whether you want to carve a ghoulish face, make a delicious pie or decorate your house with them, there are plenty of options.”
Gerwyn and Sarah are looking for ways to diversify their 70-acre sheep farm which allow them to welcome visitors. They already grow hay and haylage for horses but are looking for other ideas to supplement the farm’s income.
“We have a beautiful outdoor space here where we promote biodiversity and conservation and want to create an experience for visiting families,” explained Sarah.
“We are delighted with the public response to our sunflowers, maze and woodland walk. Now our focus for October turns to the pumpkins.”
When the sunflowers and Phacelia have finished flowering, they will be left to feed the birds through their “hungry gap” before being ploughed back into the earth to enrich the soil.
To promote the new attraction, Porth Farm has become a member of MWT Cymru, an independent company representing more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and the Meirionnydd region of Gwynedd.
Preparing for pick your own pumpkins at Porth Farm.
Image by Jessica Laura Photography
Shropshire business joins forces with border vineyard
Shrewsbury-based double glazing specialist Heritage Glass Group has announced a new partnership with Kerry Vale Vineyard on the county border with Powys.
Heritage Glass has been supplying and installing quality replacement windows and doors to homes throughout Shropshire and the surrounding areas for more than 12 years.
Established in 2010, Kerry Vale Vineyard, near Montgomery, is home to 6,000 vines, used to make still and sparkling English wine. The vineyard hosts a cellar door shop and café and boasts an impressive array of awards, earned over the past decade.
Heritage Glass will be giving executive customers a bottle of Kerry Vale Vineyard’s award winning wine. In return, the vineyard will deliver corporate hospitality to the company’s most valued customers.
Tony Randell, managing director of Heritage Glass, said “Partnering with Kerry Vale Vineyard to provide gifts and deliver hospitality for our executive clients will enable us to thank our highly valued customers in a very special way.
“Both Heritage Glass Group and Kerry Vale Vineyard share the same important core values, with excellent customer service at its heart.”
Russell Cooke, vineyard owner, said: “We are thrilled to be able to work with Heritage Glass and are proud that this discerning business has chosen us to partner with.
“We are both family-run Shropshire businesses who place high emphasis on sourcing locally and pride ourselves on the quality of our provision and our excellent products and services.
“I am confident this will be a great partnership which will host many benefits for both of our businesses and our customers.”
Kerry Vale Vineyard owner Russell Cooke (left) with Tony Randell and Jason Richards from Heritage Glass.
A Talyllyn Railway locomotive has had a busy and varied few weeks celebrating its centenary during September.
Locomotive No 4, named ‘Edward Thomas’ after the former general manager prior to Talyllyn becoming the UK’s first ever preserved railway, was originally built by manufacturers Kerr Stuart of Stoke on Trent in 1921 for Corris Railway.
It was Corris Railway’s fourth operational locomotive, the other three being, at that time, in a poor condition and in need of overhaul.
When the railway was taken over by Great Western Railway in 1930, Loco No 4 was working the line with the one surviving and now overhauled Loco No 3, dating back to 1878.
By the time of nationalisation in 1948, Loco No 4 was out of service and in need of overhaul. When Corris Railway was closed by British Railways in the same year, Corris Locos No 3 and No 4, were stored under a tarpaulin on a siding behind Machynlleth Station.
They remained there for a further three years until both were purchased by the newly formed Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society in 1951, to be named “Sir Haydn” and “Edward Thomas” respectively. They joined existing Talyllyn locos No 1 (Talyllyn) and No 2 (Dolgoch), both of which needed overhaul.
On September 4 and 5, Loco No 4 made a nostalgic return visit to Corris Railway for a gala weekend in celebration of its 100th birthday. The loco back at Talyllyn Railway to continue is centenary celebrations on September 11 and 12.
Over the weekend, special trains were made up in which Edward Thomas ran as a double header with visiting Corris Loco No 7.
The gala weekend also featured Diana and Apedale Valley Light Railway locomotive S4 “Stanhope” Kerr Stuart Tattoo Class 2395. These two locos ran on a temporary 2ft gauge track, giving cab rides in the yard at Tywyn Wharf Station.
Diana was purchased in 2014 by Talyllyn Railway member and volunteer Phil Mason who completed its restoration following year and the loco was serving on Bala Lake Railway by the end of that year.
Diana’s own centenary, in 2017, was celebrated by a tour of several of the UK railways including Statfold Barn, Beamish, Ffestiniog and the Welsh Highland. The loco is currently operating on the Amerton Railway, Staffordshire
Stanhope was also completed in 1917 and has passed through the ownership of a number of companies, including civil engineers ‘Holloway Brothers’ for work on the construction of 1,000 homes in Rosyth, relating to the Royal Naval Dockyard.
It then transferred to Kent for the construction of the Swanley bypass, following which ownership passed to Durham County Water Board, where it acquired its name “Stanhope.”
The gala weekend was complemented by Talyllyn Railway Craft Beer, Cider and Gin Festival, with 10 locally brewed real ales available as well as a variety of ciders and locally sourced gins.
Society chairman, Jonathan Mann, said: “It was a real treat to have the two visiting Kerr Stuart locomotives with us for the event. Seeing ‘Stanhope’ and our No 4 ‘Edward Thomas’ side by side revealed both the similarities and the differences.
“I would like to thank the owners for making their locomotives available and for letting me drive them both. Thanks also go to our friends at Corris Railway for their co-operation and for allowing their replica locomotive, No 7, to visit us.”
>> Find out more about Talyllyn Railway on the Visit Mid Wales website
Visiting Kerr Stuart locomotives Diana and Stanhope.
Edward Thomas double heads with Corris Railway locomotive No 7.
Photos: Glenn Cannon.
Welsh Government has announced the appointment of Ashok Ahir as interim president and trustee of the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.
Mr Ahir, 52, is deputy director of Cabinet Office communications for the UK Government. He joined the UK Government in Wales in July 2018 as the director of communications, having previously ran a successful bilingual communications agency based in Cardiff.
Before that, he worked for the BBC as a journalist, editor and programme maker in London and Cardiff. For more than a decade, he was responsible for BBC Cymru Wales’ politics team, overseeing coverage of Welsh politics on television, radio and on digital services.
Pedr ap Llwyd, the national library’s chief executive and librarian, welcomed the “excellent appointment” and thanked Meri Huws, the former interim president, for her contribution to the library.
“We are really looking forward to Ashok joining us, to benefiting from his broad experience and knowledge and to working with him over the coming months,” he said.
“In welcoming Ashok, I would like to thank Meri Huws, the former interim president, for the enormous contribution she has made to the library during the past two years and wish her, and the organisations she serves, well for the future.
“Ashok joins us at the start of a new and exciting chapter in our history as we launch our new Strategic Plan 2021-2026 – A library for Wales and the World - in a few weeks’ time.
“Regardless of the significant progress made during the last few years, we enter this new chapter with hunger and determination to achieve even more.
“Our plan points to a future where we will continue to use our unique range of skills and expertise to cultivate and care for the nation’s memory, lay the foundation for a knowledge economy, empower learning and research, be at the heart of national life and support Welsh Government’s public policy objectives.
“Ashok’s appointment will help us achieve our aims and strengthen the relationships with our partners around Wales for the benefit of everyone we serve. Today is certainly a day of celebration at the National Library of Wales.”
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