Trail of Light Launch at the Ynysfach Engine House. From left: Minister Rhodri Glyn Thomas, Phil Loveless as William Crawshay and Herian Chairman David Davies. © Cadw Department for Heritage, Welsh Assembly Government
The Welsh First Minister Rhodri Glyn Thomas has launched the first stage of a scheme that will see key buildings from the industrial heritage of South Wales lit up at night.
Mr Thomas was at the Engine House, Ynysfach in Merthyr Tydfil, on the evening of January 29 2008 to flick the switch on the first illuminated building in a new Trail of Light. More historic buildings in South Wales will be lit up in the coming months.
The Trail of Light project is designed to enhance the telling of South Wales’ industrial history by illuminating key historical relics with conventional architectural feature lighting and experimental lighting installations.
“Wales has been a scene of huge developments in industrial history and heritage sites such as those in the Trail of Light can form a major attraction at a time when interest in cultural tourism is growing,” said Mr Thomas.
“Schemes such as this not only enhance the local environment and remind the local community of its past and its present standing but can also draw in visitors interested in our industrial heritage to the benefit of the local economy.”
The restored building dramatically floodlit. Courtesy HERIAN
In keeping with Welsh Assembly Government policies on energy conservation and sustainability, low energy LED lights have been used as well as renewable energy sources.
At the Nye Bevan Stones in Tredegar, solar panels will provide the power source for a lighting scheme that will change colour and effect in tune with local noise levels - a way of inducing public interaction with the site in the Diamond Jubilee Year of the founding of the NHS.
The Ynysfach Engine House, which was also formally opened by the Minister after a £273,000 refurbishment, will also serve as a Community Heritage Facility with the aim of encouraging local participation in community cultural projects and lifelong learning activities - all based in the Grade II-Listed building.
The Trail of Light project is supported by the HERIAN (Heritage in Action) partnership, which works to promote awareness of the industrial heritage of South Wales. The first phase is funded under the Welsh Assembly Government’s £5m Heads of the Valley Programme – a funding package announced last week for strategic tourism projects in the region.