| The exciting new adventure resort would have outdoor ski slopes, aqua park with surfing and wave machines, extreme sports area, rejuvenation centre and spa treatment. |
Accommodation would be in a 100-bedroom hotel and 500 luxury lodges. The added attraction of a Bear Grylls Survival Academy would help bring in thousands of visitors every year.
Developer Northern Powerhouse Developments is proposing an all-weather, all-year-round resort on the 202-hectare site north of Port Talbot. The location is an easy journey from neighbouring Swansea and Cardiff, it would also attract visitors from across the Severn Bridge.
In recent years the Afan Forest Park has seen a multimillion-pound investment in mountain bike trails and cycle paths. The newly proposed attractions, which also include forest-based zip wires and treetop adventures, would be an excellent match.
The site might also be home to the Bear Grylls Survival Academy where adults and children learn outdoor skills such as how to make shelters and forage for food. This is the first time the adrenaline-fuelled course would run within a resort. Currently the academy hosts courses for up to two days in Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons.
Visitors will have somewhere to relax after their adventures: a rejuvenation centre offering massages and spa treatment, the chance to refuel tired bodies in restaurants, drink in wine bars, and enjoy indoor entertainment arenas.
The men behind the idea are Gavin Woodhouse, chairman of Northern Powerhouse Developments and Peter Moore OBE, who first brought Center Parcs to the UK and who helped turn round the fortunes of Alton Towers.
Architecture practice Powell Dobson has been appointed to work on the project by Northern Powerhouse Developments and preliminary work on the resort is beginning immediately, while talks continue with Neath Port Talbot Council regarding the investment. The project will also be subject to the planning process.
Hundreds of jobs are expected to be created by the development.
Northern Powerhouse Development said the site would be a UK-first by combining a range of outdoor activities in one location. It aims to build three adventure resorts with further locations yet to be revealed.
Chairman Gavin Woodhouse said “The UK holiday market is ready for a new leisure concept and we believe Afan Valley Adventure Resort is coming at exactly the right time,” he added.
“In recent years we have seen a growing number of independent stand-alone experiences proving hugely popular but there is nowhere that delivers all of these experiences in one destination and Afan Valley will do just that.
The Welsh Government said it had not committed any funding to the development, but the plans “demonstrate an ambition and innovation for developing the tourism industry in Wales”. Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure Ken Skates has already visited the site.