Funding Boost For Access To Welsh Historic Castles

By Graham Spicer | 01 March 2006
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photo of a man in a suit sitting on a step next to a lawn next to a medieval castle

Culture Minister Alun Pugh at Caernarfon Castle. The Welsh Assembly Government has announced £185,000 additional funding to Cadw

The Welsh Assembly Government has announced increasing funding to help improve access to Wales’ castles and monuments.

Culture Minister Alun Pugh announced a £185,000 grant to Cadw, the Welsh Assembly Government’s historic environment division, to develop ideas for access and visitor facilities over the next two years. Caernarfon Castle is top of the list of 128 monuments in Cadw’s care selected for improvements.

“Caernarfon Castle is our flagship monument,” said the minister. “It regularly attracts more than 200,000 visitors a year – the most to any historic site in Wales. Yet the access to the castle is physically hard for many visitors and impossible for some.”

photo of a large medieval castle

Caernarfon Castle is the first of Wales' historic monuments to be targeted for access improvements. © Cadw

Cadw plans to provide a ramped entrance into the castle, more extensive access to the upper wards within the monument and improved visitor facilities. Precise details are currently being explored.

Although physical access to some monuments will be difficult to improve, Cadw is looking to provide events for a wider range of audiences. It is developing events for families following successful half-term programmes in February 2006 at Caerphilly, Criccieth and Kidwelly castles and Tintern Abbey.

“We are making access to sites a priority, although physical access to a small number is clearly going to be problematic for people with mobility difficulties and parents with children in buggies,” explained Alun Pugh. “Castles were built for defence, not access.”

a photograph of a walkway along a castle wall

Cadw cares for 128 castles and monuments in Wales, including Conwy Castle. © Cadw

“There is much we can do, however, to make Welsh heritage intellectually accessible, through interpretation, publications and the use of modern technologies,” he added.

Visitors to many of Cadw’s properties were also offered free entry on St David’s Day, March 1 2006.

Cadw was created in 1984 and aims to promote the conservation and appreciation of Wales’ historic environment.

It has recently completed a 20-year survey to improve the listing of buildings of special architectural and historic interest in Wales. The list has grown from 9,000 in 1984 to almost 30,000 buildings.

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