22 June 2024

New ‘must see’ attraction set to open in Rhayader

There’s been something magical happening behind closed doors in the Mid Wales market town of Rhayader!


For more than two years, a team of dedicated and highly skilled people has been burning the midnight oil, ready for the official opening of a brand-new visitor attraction on May 23 – TimeScape Rhayader / Amserwedd Rhaeadr Gwy.


Following the private launch on May 23, ‘Timescape Rhayader’ opens to the public on May 30. This new heritage and arts attraction has been created by CARAD (Community Arts Rhayader and District).


It’s the first all-weather attraction in the town, offering tourists a dry base to explore the history and landscape of Rhayader from in inclement weather.


New installations look at the fascinating stories from the community and those who lived there before, unique landscapes, climate change and sustainable behaviour, folklore and belief, farming and the environment, migration and identity.


The fascinating installations include an atmospheric Dragon’s Cave, also accessible through a crawl-through tunnel which features CARAD’s giant copper dragon sculpture, Queen Belrenin.


Cath Allan, CARAD’s co-director and creative lead on TimeScape Rhayader, said: “We’re passionate believers in the power of creativity and heritage to bring people together in shared endeavours, and to inspire individuals to push themselves beyond their comfort zones.


“This project has involved Rhayader’s community at every stage of its development, with over 100 volunteers giving thousands of hours of their time. It’s a brilliant effort and an exceptional achievement!


“Together we’ve created an ambitious and inspiring all-weather heritage and arts attraction that showcases Mid Wales and its unique place in Welsh history and on the world stage.”


Cath added: “This new attraction will suit all ages. A host of new installations explore the area’s fascinating stories from our community today as well as those who lived here before. We explore the unique landscapes, folklore and beliefs which shaped our communities, in a welcoming and fascinating all weather experience.


“Our new digital displays include a magic i-sandbox, where children can explore and create landscapes and see dinosaurs in their natural habitat. There’s even a digital reconstruction of the Roman marching camp at Esgair Perfedd and Cwm Elan Mine on our digital table!”


CARAD co-director Krysia Bass said: “We’ve created a unique, immersive environment that incorporates the old Rhayader Folk Museum Collections in new and innovative ways.


“Some items now on display haven’t been seen for over 50 years and some others have never been seen by the public at all.


“TimeScape Rhayader / Amserwedd Rhaeadr Gwyr has been in development since lockdown and we couldn’t have done it without the support and trust of our key funding partners.”


Funding partners are the Welsh Government, Elan Links HLF Landscape Scheme, Powys County Council, Rhayader Town Council, Art Fund, Community Foundation Wales, Ashley Family Foundation, Oakdale Trust and Llysdinam Trust.


CARAD trustee Peter Cox, MBE, said: ‘TimeScape Rhayader aims to help CARAD become more sustainable and to grow tourism in Rhayader itself – capitalising on the half a million visitors who come to explore the Elan Valley each year.


“We can’t wait to welcome visitors. We’re immensely proud of what we’ve created and want to share it with as many people as possible. When we ran some preview tours the visitor responses were fantastic and so encouraging.”


One local resident said: “It’s excellent! Really proud to have this in Rhayader.’ A German visitor said: “What you have created is very profound. It shows the whole cosmos” and a couple from Australia said: “It’s absolutely fascinating and beautiful. This will become a ‘must see’ tourist and local attraction.”


Opening Hours from May 30 are Thursday to Saturday, 10.30am to 4pm, last entry, 3.30pm. Ticket prices ar £6 for adults and 1p for children under 16.  There will be several ‘no pay’ days a year for local people.