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Gnoll Estate Country Park Plan to Deliver Improvements for Visitors

Gnoll Estate Country Park. Credit: Neath Port Talbot Council

Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Board is due to consider a report which recommends a range of options to enhance the visitor offer at Neath’s historic Gnoll Estate Country Park.

The proposed enhancements will ensure that Gnoll Estate Country Park remains a popular and well-loved place to visit by the local community and visitors from further afield.

In early 2020, via an online survey, the local community answered a call for its views on how the Country Park can be improved. More than 818 responses were received providing the Council with robust feedback to inform a new Visitor Experience Action Plan.

The Gnoll Estate Country Park is home to 219 acres of parkland, a wide variety of listed structures and buildings including; formal cascades, a visitor centre with café, public toilets, meeting facilities, a nine hole pitch and putt golf course, extensive walks, ponds and a series of events throughout the year including fun fair rides.

The report recommends that a series of improvements are made as soon as possible, acting on the feedback received from the local community.

The proposed immediate improvements include; new interpretation of historical features, enhancing and creating waymarked walking routes, improvements to food offer within the onsite café, new signage at car park pay points explaining how the fees are reinvested into the park, designated barbecue sites, new seating and picnic benches and additional play equipment (if budgets allow).

Longer term actions within the Visitor Experience Action Plan will be delivered by the Council over the next 3-5 years.

The report also outlines options for the future development of small scale visitor accommodation at the Country Park to potentially include the refurbishment of the Ranger’s Cottage and repurposing of the former maintenance yard for luxury self-catering pods.  The report acknowledges the impact of Covid-19 and further scoping work will be carried out to identify funding opportunities for these proposals.

Cllr Ted Latham, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Deputy Leader, said: “Gnoll Country Park is hugely popular thanks to its beautiful landscape and excellent facilities. It is important that the Park should be enhanced for the benefit of the local community whilst we also look sensitively at the options to encourage visitors to the Park from further afield. Increasing tourism, especially overnight stays, within Neath Port Talbot will boost our local economy.”