Year 10 pupils from Gwernyfed High School and Ysgol Calon Cymru attending the seminar at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair
More than 1,000 children and students from schools and agricultural colleges across Wales and the English border visited the Royal Welsh Winter Fair at Llanelwedd, Builth Wells.
The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society (RWAS) promotes agricultural science, research and education, particularly in food, farming and the countryside, as one of its main charitable objectives.
The winter fair is unique to other RWAS events, as it takes place during term time. Each year, more schools and colleges are seeing the educational value of attending this two-day event to learn about food production, the supply chain and agricultural organisations.
Touching on many aspects of the curriculum, the event helps students to learn about agriculture in relation to business studies, cooking and nutrition, animal welfare, geography, mathematics and much more.
They are able to see first-hand the finest primary produce on display within the livestock, the end product in the butchery competition and the high quality produce in the food hall.
Cows on Tour held a seminar event at the Members Centre in collaboration with NFU Cymru (National Farmers Union). Together they welcomed more than 120 children from year 10 at Gwernyfed High School and Ysgol Calon Cymru (Builth Wells High School) to learn about Welsh farming and careers in agriculture.
A panel session was chaired by NFU Cymru deputy president Abi Reader, who was joined by speakers Stella Owen, NFU Cymru county adviser, sheep farmer Ernie Richards, Gareth Wall from McCartneys’ rural professional department, Kate Adams, senior policy adviser at the British Agriculture Bureau in Brussels and Robert Davies, RWAS assistant honorary director of sheep and lamb carcasses.
The panellists each talked about how they got into their respective roles and began their journey in the working world of agriculture and farming.
Following the panel session, Cows on Tour and NFU Cymru organised a scavenger hunt around the showground for the children to visit trade stands, such as Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotions Wales, DPJ Foundation and Wales YFC.
Welsh Government Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths launched a new bilingual farm safety publicity campaign targeting primary-age school children in Wales.
A short video, together with two colourful workbooks aimed at children aged from four to 11 years old, have been produced by the Wales Farm Safety Partnership (WFSP) in collaboration with key rural stakeholder organisations in Wales. The aim is to encourage children to learn about the importance of farm safety and protect themselves from some of the most common farm hazards.
From farm to fork, the winter fair is an excellent way to share the positive farming story of how food is produced and to learn more about agriculture careers and opportunities.
Schools or colleges wishing to arrange a trip to the next winter fair in 2023 are asked to contact email@example.com.
With just over a week to go until the big day, are you struggling to find an unusual Christmas gift for the special person in your life?
What about taking over a Welsh narrow-gauge railway for the day in 2023? The gift can either be for one person or can be shared with a group of up to six friends.
They will get to experience the thrill of standing on the footplate of locomotives and going behind the scenes to see what makes the railway tick.
They can even wave the guard’s flag and pull the levers in the signal box. In effect, they will be helping to run the railway for the day, under the supervision of trained volunteers.
The biggest train set that anyone could hope for in their Christmas stocking is a ‘Your Railway for the Day” offer from Corris Railway, near Machynlleth in Mid Wales. The offer can be taken up, subject to volunteer availability, on days without timetabled operations.
The emphasis of the day, which will run from 10am to 5pm, can be adapted to match the interests of those attending. The offer also includes membership of Corris Railway Society for a year.
The day costs £500 and is limited to six people – just over £80 each for six people. The fee can be reduced to £400 by excluding a steam locomotive.
Drinks are supplied but not food, however sandwiches can be purchased in Corris village café, 100 yards from the station.
A non-refundable deposit of £100 must be paid with the booking followed by the balance 10 days before the experience day. The offer is limited to people aged 18 and above who must be reasonably fit and have not consumed alcohol or drugs in the previous 12 hours.
For more information and to discuss making a booking, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Corris Railway is a member of MWT Cymru, an independent company representing around 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and Southern Snowdonia.
The Welsh Government has today launched a consultation on establishing a statutory licensing scheme for all visitor accommodation providers in Wales.
"The primary aim is to establish a level playing field for all visitor accommodation businesses operating in the sector. The concern around the lack of a level playing field has been a long-standing area of discussion with concerns certain parts of the sector do not meet or comply with their statutory obligations.
"The Welsh Government’s Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru commits to a statutory licensing scheme for holiday lets as part of a package of measures to address the negative impact second homes and short-term holiday lets can have on the availability and affordability of housing for local people in our communities.
A statutory licensing scheme could:
“The visitor economy is changing rapidly, and the role of visitor accommodation presents major challenges for communities across the world. For example, the growth of online booking platforms has brought many benefits, such as new routes to market and increased consumer choice.
“However, we are aware of the concerns around compliance with existing requirements and the impact of short-term lets on housing stock and our communities.
“Our plans to develop statutory licensing scheme will be focused on levelling the playing field as part of a long-term response to the major challenges we face.
“Over the course of the past year, we have been exploring and engaging with stakeholders on how such a scheme could work in Wales. As the consultation now opens, we would like to hear further views and would encourage the sector to respond to the consultation.”
Designated Member Siân Gwenllian said:
“Through our Co-operation Agreement, we are taking radical and immediate action to address housing market failures and the lack of affordable housing, using the planning, property and taxation systems to make a difference. This proposed licensing scheme is part of our approach, making it a requirement to obtain a licence to operate visitor accommodation, including short-term holiday lets.
"There has been a huge increase in the short-term holiday let sector in recent years which is exacerbating the housing crisis in Wales. While we have a regulatory framework in place in Wales for private rental accommodation, there isn’t one that covers all types of visitor accommodation. Our proposals will bring greater safeguards to local communities on the use of residential dwellings as short-term holiday lets in particular, whilst enhancing the visitor experience and visitor safety in Wales.”
The Consultation can be found here https://www.gov.wales/statutory-licensing-scheme-all-visitor-accommodation-providers-wales and responses are due by 17 March 2023.
The announcement can be found on Proposed new licensing scheme to level the playing field and improve the standard of visitor accommodation in Wales | GOV.WALES
Bryn Elltyd in Southern Snowdonia, members of MWT Cymru and one of five sustainable businesses selected as exemplars by Visit Wales.
Working in partnership, Business Wales and Visit Wales have now launched Sustainable Tourism Wales.
"The new business support scheme provides advice and support on how to save money, promote your business using sustainability practices and realise your green ambitions.
If you’re unsure where to start when it comes to sustainability or maybe you've started making changes but want to take it to the next level, you can download our short, handy resource packs, which include top tips and funding advice.
To provide inspiration, we’ve also caught up with five businesses from across Wales. Find out how they’ve made changes within five key areas to improve their sustainability and help towards Wales becoming Net Zero.
Full details are available on the Sustainable Tourism Wales website; where you can also sign up to the Tourism Green Growth Pledge and download the Sustainable Tourism Wales Marketing Handbook."
The first locomotive takes water at the reconstructed watering point in March 2022. Photo: D.J. Mitchell
Talyllyn Railway has won a National Rail Heritage Award for the reconstruction of an original locomotive watering point on the line.
The railway was jointly awarded the Hendy and Pendle Trust Volunteers Award by The Duke of Gloucester at a ceremony held in London.
The Tŷ Dŵr watering point, originally installed when the railway was built in 1865, transferred water from a nearby waterfall to the first locomotive shed by a series of troughs supported on slate columns.
The shed was situated on what was then the mineral extension between Abergynolwyn station, the original passenger terminus and what is now Nant Gwernol station.
After the railway was preserved in 1951, the watering point fell into disuse and was demolished in 1954 so that the slate could be used to help build a retaining wall following a landslip near Dolgoch.
However, it was long-held ambition to see it rebuilt and the first steps were taken in 2019. Some archaeology was needed to dig out the remains before the new structure was designed.
Following a successful appeal and sponsorship from PTG Tours, local contractors were employed to rebuild the slate columns while volunteers constructed new water troughs from locally sourced larch.
The new watering point was used for the first time in March this year by locomotive No.4 ‘Edward Thomas’, the last known locomotive to use the old one.
Ian Drummond, chair of the railway’s heritage working group, said: “To receive this award is a great honour and a fantastic reward for all those who worked so hard to make this possible.
“Particular credit must go to Mike Christensen who designed the reconstruction and supervised the building, as well to our contractors, Rhys and Tomos of Celtic Masonry.
“Thanks also to all those who contributed to the appeal and to PTG Tours for their sponsorship. It is great to know that a missing piece of our heritage has now been restored.”
The office will be closed from Thursday 22nd December until Tuesday 3rd January 2023
For any pre-Christmas enquiries please get in touch:
T: 01654 702653
Members will receive log-in details for the new Visit Mid Wales and Show me Wales websites in the new year; however, if you would like to update your listings over the Christmas break, please email us as soon as possible to request yours sooner and we will do our best to get them to you.
“Challenges include severe staff shortages, supply chain issues, effects of climate change, outbreak of war in Ukraine and the gathering storm of the cost-of-living crisis. The ongoing political dramas hardly help us to navigate an already difficult situation.”
Mrs Hawkins’ reference to “political dramas” relate to the Welsh Government’s changes to the tax criteria for self-catering accommodation, a proposed tourism tax and the statutory registration of all visitor accommodation in Wales.
She told the meeting, held at the Brigands Inn, Mallwyd, that a key part of MWT Cymru’s work was to represent the interests of members by providing Wales Tourism Alliance (WTA) with the latest business intelligence for meetings with Welsh Government officials.
Thanking WTA chairman Suzy Davies and executive director Adrian Greason-Walker, for “relentlessly communicating the needs of our businesses to government”, she added: “Ensuring that our politicians are well-briefed on the challenges facing our industry is more important than ever.”
Mrs Hawkins also reported that MWT Cymru had invested in a new digital platform to support all Mid Wales destination marketing activity and provide members with enhanced business listings and additional online promotional and seasonal campaign tools.
A new Mid Wales Visitor Guide was also launched during the year and will be repeated in 2023 when a Mid Wales Tourism Conference, last held in November 2021, is set to return.
“Adopting smarter ways of working will be a priority for 2023,” she added. “We will continue to hold regular virtual meetings and webinars, maintaining our online resource on MWTcymru.co.uk and our social media channels to keep members informed.”
Chairman Rowland Rees-Evans, a director of Penrhos Park, Llanrhystud, also referred to the new challenges facing the tourism industry in his annual report.
“As an industry, we always seem to be challenged at every opportunity and this last year was no exception,” he said. “I genuinely believe that the industry needs help and support, and not the introduction of any new legislation that will put many businesses in an impossible situation.
“Given the new challenges ahead, we all need to be cautious as we move forward into next year and beyond but, as an industry, we will adapt again.”
He welcomed new investment by tourism businesses across Mid Wales and a major project planned in the Elan Valley, supported by the Mid Wales Growth Deal, to develop a destination attraction which would benefit a wide area.
Mike Booth, Elan Valley attractions manager, said: “This is an opportunity to develop a tourism offer that is open throughout the year when people are looking for things to do and increase employment opportunities.”
In 2023 Visit Wales are inviting visitors and residents of Wales to explore the epic trails of Wales as we show what is on offer - using trails as a springboard into exciting experiences and new opportunities.
The year is all about
"Picking up from the success of our previous five themes, “Llwybrau. Wales, by Trails” aims to inspire our stakeholders, partners and the media, to use the theme as a way to showcase the full range of products that Wales has to offer."
"This themed year will also take place off the back of a high profile and exciting Autumn for Wales with the FIFA World Cup and several months of activity (including TV and Video on Demand) with the Autumn and Winter breaks campaign."
"We hope that this year’s theme will be welcomed by industry and encourage visitors to different corners of the country throughout the year."
The “Llwybrau. Wales, by Trails” industry guide is now available, along with a logo, logo guidance and high-quality images, for industry partners to download and use for “Llwybrau. Wales, by Trails” marketing: Take a look and download them on Assets: Llwybrau | Visit Wales.
The Welsh Government is proposing to give local authorities across Wales the power to introduce a discretionary visitor levy, which would be added to other new tourism legislative changes.
These changes include the threshold for self-catering accommodation for tax purposes and a proposed statutory licensing scheme for all visitor accommodation in Wales.
Mr Greason-Walker appealed to tourism businesses to show the Welsh Government the strength of feeling that had been expressed to the WTA against the proposed visitor levy in their responses at https://gov.wales/visitor-levy .
“We have entered a far more economically challenging period than has been seen over the last 20 years,” he said. “The Welsh Government’s own Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment highlights the severe economic conditions that tourism businesses are currently facing.
“As we know from the very recent past, the economic tail of a recession is long and this time the effects of inflation and rising costs will only exacerbate the position.
“We have already asked if the Welsh Government will abandon the proposals if the majority of respondents to the consultation say they don’t want the tourism tax.”
He went on to say that it was also “deeply regrettable” that legitimate self-catering businesses were being caught up in the second homes issue. “We will now see seismic changes to the way self-catering accommodation is assessed for property taxation in Wales,” he added.
The changes will see the number of days a self-catering property must be available to let in a year rise from 140 to 252 and the days it is actually let increase from 70 to 182. Local authorities will have the powers to triple the council tax premium to 300% for self-catering properties that do not meet the new criteria.
Opposition from WTA and others, including 400 responses from the industry, seemed to have been largely ignored by the Welsh Government, said Mr Greason-Walker
On the question of statutory licensing of all visitor accommodation, Mr Greason-Walker said the only way a visitor tax would work would be if local authorities were able to identify every tourism accommodation provider in their area.
A registration scheme, rather than a difficult to manage licensing scheme, would ensure a level playing field, although some local authorities were questioning whether enough tax would be raised to cover staffing costs.
Rowland Rees-Evans, MWT Cymru’s chairman, said he and others had questioned the Welsh Government why it had not conducted a proper impact assessment on the tourism tax proposal, but there had been no answer.
Mrs Hawkins expressed concern about the wider impact of the Welsh Government’s new legislative proposals on town centres, shops, cafes and attractions whose income is topped up by visitor spend.
“These proposed changes could impact local jobs and future employment prospects for young people if they result in fewer visitors to Mid Wales,” she warned.
An award-winning film ‘Staying (Aros Mae)’, which was filmed in the Elan and Claerwen Valleys, near Rhayader in 2019, will be screened on BBC 2 Wales tomorrow (Thursday) at 11.35pm.
Written and directed by previous Elan Valley artist-in-residence Zillah Bowes, the film features members of the community as cast, including Stephen and Kerena Pugh who were chosen to play farmer Huw and his wife Megan.
The short fiction film is about Ruth, played by actor and 9Bach singer Lisa Jên Brown, a newly divorced gallery manager selling her city home, who sees a video of a sheepdog for sale and visits Huw and Megan in the hills.
The film captures a way of life in the Valley, where neighbouring farmers come together to gather sheep on horseback and quad bikes in the remote and beautiful landscape.
Most of the filming took place at Marchnant Farm, managed by farmer Steven Lewis and his partner Chris. Their sheepdog Mick is a star of the film, which was screened for local people at The Lion Royal Hotel, Rhayader in August.
Zillah lived in the Elan Valley for a year before shooting the film and got to know the tenant farmers and their way of life, while working on her long-term photography project Green Dark. She also spent time getting to know farmer Stephen Pugh and his wife Kerena to prepare them for the roles as Huw and Megan.
Stephen and Kerena, who live in Nantmel where they farm and run Lȏn Lodges tourism business, were introduced to her by one of the film’s three executive producers, Peter Cox, who lives near Rhayader.
“Zillah wanted to capture life today in the Valley as authentically as possible,” said Stephen. “So much research went into the film and the onus was on us to do justice to the Valley farmers.
“Credit goes to Steven and Chris Lewis because they gave up so much of their time.”
‘Staying (Aros Mae)’ has received widespread international recognition, winning awards at BAFTA and BIFA-qualifying film festivals including Grand Jury Prize at Premiers Plan Angers Film Festival and Special Mention at Encounters Film Festival.
The film was produced by Jack Thomas-O’Brien at Sixteen Films in conjunction with Ffilm Cymru Wales, BFI NETWORK Wales and BBC Cymru Wales.
Watch the film at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001g07p . There is also a short interview with Zillah at: http://www.ffilmcymruwales.com/news-and-events/meet-beacons-makers-zillah-bowes .
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