Because the tourism sector reopens in Wales, Breaking Journey Information editor, Chris O’Toole, right here visits the brand new Zip World Tower in Rhigos to learn how the attraction is contributing to the regeneration of the native space
Miners on the Tower Colliery have been in a position to generate wealth from what lay beneath the bottom of southern Wales for generations till the pit lastly closed in 2008.
The location grew to become the image for the miners’ resistance within the Nineteen Nineties, after staff used redundancy pay-outs to buyout administration and proceed operations.
They went on to efficiently run the pit, the oldest constantly working deep coal mine within the UK, for 15 years earlier than reserves have been lastly exhausted a decade or extra in the past.
As we speak, Zip World is hoping to repeat the trick aboveground, reopening the long-dormant website as the newest in a sequence of journey tourism points of interest – Zip World Tower.
Set within the Rhigos mountain vary with beautiful views overlooking the Brecon Beacons, the placement has been designed to create a long-lasting legacy amid the mining heritage.
Sean Taylor, founding father of Zip World, stated: “From slate caverns to quarry carting, Wales is residence to a number of the finest out of doors journey locations on this planet.
“It’s been a difficult time for the tourism sector over the previous yr however with the opening of Zip World Tower, we really feel like it’s going to solely go from power to power.”
He added: “We’ve confirmed expertise of preserving and regenerating iconic websites and, as a passionate Welshman, I couldn’t consider a greater location than the South Wales Valleys to create a brand new legacy and develop our model exterior of north Wales for the primary time.
“We’ve been overjoyed with the wonderful reception from the local people and companies, who we are able to’t thank sufficient for his or her persevering with help – we really feel at residence already.”
Arriving to analyze the brand new facility, it’s apparent the mining traditions have been preserved.
The Tower Colliery headstock nonetheless looms massive, gazing out over the encompassing fields, whereas the star attraction – the Phoenix Zip Line – is called in honour of the miners who resurrected the enterprise all these years in the past.
There may be additionally the Tower Coaster, a two-seater industrial-style toboggan on rails that’s the solely one among its type in Europe.
Tyrone O’Sullivan, chairman of the Tower Colliery, stated: “It’s incredible to have the chance to usher in a brand new chapter within the Tower Colliery story, in a manner that captures the commercial historical past of the location and provides the local people a lift too.
“We have been actually impressed with how Zip World reinvented a slate quarry right into a thriving vacationer attraction on the Penrhyn Quarry in north Wales and couldn’t consider a greater technique to maintain the legacy of this iconic website.”
An hour’s drive for both Cardiff or Swansea, the location was packed after we known as in earlier this month.
Guests are welcomed in teams of 32, kitted up with the newest gear and shuttled as much as the highest of the mountain by minibus.
The entire course of is sort of concerned, and may take round an hour, however it’s definitely definitely worth the wait.
The Phoenix itself, thought of the quickest seated zip line on this planet, consists of 4 parallel strains unfold over two separate zip zones.
Riders are clipped onto the primary line and requested to regular themselves for a number of seconds earlier than the gates are thrown open they usually hurtle down over the mountains at speeds of as much as 50 miles per hour.
It’s an exhilarating expertise, however one that’s open to guests of all ages – one among my co-riders was hardly greater than 12 years previous, however he cherished each second.
A fast journey to the highest of the second tower, and there may be probability to do it once more, this time arriving again at base camp the place a café and bar are ready for the intrepid travellers.
David Samways, a former conveyor belt fitter on the coal mine whose grandson works as an teacher at Zip World Tower, stated: “Like many others on this space, I really feel an in depth connection to Tower Colliery.
“I spent a lot of my working life on the Tower Colliery the place we constructed miles of conveyor belt to move the coal.
“Seeing issues come full circle with my grandson Jack securing a job at Zip World Tower feels wonderful and I’m reminded but once more of what a particular group that is.”
Mini thrill seekers can get their kicks at Zip World Tower too.
Huge Pink, the biggest cellular zip on this planet, is on supply at base, permitting kids to journey alongside each other on a 270-foot line.
Zip World Tower has created round 50 jobs within the Rhigos space following its launch, whereas there are hopes of welcoming an estimated 100,000 guests in its first yr of operation.
On this proof, they need to don’t have any downside reaching that milestone.
For extra on the Zip World Tower or different Zip World areas throughout Wales, head over to the official website.