We are set to receive £500,000 funding to improve our bunkhouse and visitor centre, provide a new wooden play area and improve active travel routes linking the park to local communities.

Parks and heritage sites across Wales will receive a share of more than £6.6 million Welsh Government funding as part of a project designed to boost the potential of natural and cultural assets.

They are among 11 such sites to be named as Discovery Gateways for the Valleys Regional Park, the aim of which is to generate social, economic and environmental benefits.

Investment in Discovery Gateways sites is considered crucial to ensuring they have the capacity to provide safe and welcoming spaces that can be enjoyed by local communities and visitors from further afield.

“As well as becoming destinations in their own right, Discovery Gateways have a great opportunity to tell the stories of the Valleys and encourage local people and visitors to explore the surrounding areas, including local towns and villages, and the wider landscape,” said First Minister Mark Drakeford.

Deputy Minister for Economy with responsibility for the Valleys Taskforce, Lee Waters AM, said the aim is for the projects to put the idea of a Valleys Regional Park on the map nationally and internationally, “as a place which can inspire, excite and attract visitors from near and far”.

“They will also provide opportunities for economic growth which is a key aim of the Valleys Taskforce,” he said.

“These plans have been developed through extensive engagement with Valleys communities, and I look forward to continuing to work together to bring the Valleys Regional Park to life.”

Parc Bryn Bach is currently managed by the Aneurin Leisure Trust. Blaenau Gwent Council and the Trust worked in partnership to submit a bid and secure the funding.

Councillor Garth Collier, Blaenau Gwent Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, says the Council is delighted that this joint bid for funding had been successful. He said:

“We are delighted by the news that there is going to be a significant investment into Parc Bryn Bach to improve and enhance facilities at this wonderful location.

We have enjoyed a steady growth in tourism here in Blaenau Gwent over the past few years and we know this brings significant economic benefits to our communities, so we are delighted by the opportunity to boost this even further. This investment will ensure that as a leisure destination the park can provide high quality user and visitor experiences for people of all ages and attract people from across the country.

As a Council we are committed to promoting and enhancing the well-being of local residents and we work closely with a range of partners to encourage and support healthy lifestyles and promote and celebrate the outdoors, so it is great to have this news about a recreational facility which is right on our doorstep.”

Phill Sykes Commercial and Operational Director for Aneurin Leisure, said:

“Aneurin Leisure are thrilled that Parc Bryn Bach has been named as one of Wales’ new Discovery Gateway Sites and are excited to have the opportunity to implement new ideas to improve the park’s facilities through the Valleys Regional Park funding.

Through a series of public engagement sessions, the community have chosen to develop new bunkhouse accommodation within the Visitor Centre and make improvements to the children’s play area. Both projects will be implemented in partnership with Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council and funded by Valleys Regional Park. Work will begin shortly, but facilities at the park will remain available throughout the improvement works.

Parc Bryn Bach has seen fantastic growth over the last few years, receiving almost 700,000 visitors in the last 12 months alone, with visitors travelling from all over the region to enjoy our lakeside walks, exercise, see the wildlife, play a round of golf or foot golf and enjoy a bite to eat in our dog friendly Lake View Café.”