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River Lodge Nature Park

Organisation Name: River Lodge Nature Park

Project Description: Provide a handcrafted Log Lodge and individual log cabins set within a varied and picturesque landscape, surrounded by wildlife, meadow and woodland. Situated in a 25 acre Park on the banks of the River Taff, accessed by the public only on foot, horse or bicycle, direct access via the Taff Trail section of the Celtic Trail Cycle Path. Also offering affordable and fun eco-accommodation including tree houses and log chalets. An adventure playground in the woods, a safe environment for children to explore and experience nature, while the adults relax and rejuvenate in a haven of tranquillity and unspoilt, natural beauty.
Providing an eagerly anticipated easy and safe target destination for short day rides for families with young children from Pontypridd, Cilfynydd, Abercynon, Ynysybwl and surrounding areas. A relaxing refuge and refuelling point for cyclists en route to Cardiff, Aberdare, Merthyr, the Brecon Beacons and beyond. With overnight stabling and paddock enabling riders to take a leisure break with their horses.
In line with the times and current social awareness, River Lodge Nature Park would provide a unique and delightful eco-friendly holiday experience, encouraging and inspiring a new generation of nature lovers and ethical tourists

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Geographical Area of Operation: Rhondda Cynon Taf and surrounding region

Organisation Core Business: Providing ecologically sound, green tourism destination that promotes use of the Celtic Trail, National Cycle Network (an Objective1 beneficiary).

Who will be involved in delivering the project: Concept Design, site layout & functionality, construction and landscaping will be carried out by local Private Sector businesses under the consultation of various environmental organisations, including Arena Network, Centre for Alternative Technology, National Energy Foundation, Carbon Trust, Ethical Junction, and the Renewable Energy Association.

Who will be the end beneficiaries: Members of surrounding Rhondda Cynon Taff Communities, current and future users of National Cycle Network in South Wales:
cyclists of all ability and level, including families with small children, riding schools and horse owners, walkers and hikers, and the local business community through an increase in tourism and sourcing of local products.

Spatial area/s to be covered by the project: 25-30 acres

What might the outputs(activity measures): In line with current Welsh Assembly & Rhondda Cynon Taf County Council environmental initiatives, River Lodge would offer local communities and the public at large the chance to experience a new style of short break and family holiday set in a beautiful and stimulating environment, that radically reduces their individual Carbon Footprint. By serving fresh, local, seasonal produce, installing sophisticated renewable energy and waste management systems, and having patrons leave their cars at home, and get on their bikes, River Lodge would not only promote a healthy lifestyle and encourage a diverse cross-section of the public to use pedal power, it would also greatly enhance the use of the Celtic Trail, providing a starting or destination point for day trips, weekend tours, family rides, adventure weekends, seasonal fishing holidays, foot and horse-powered vacations.

What might be the results of the project: Local regeneration; better access to the countryside for local community members; health benefits connected to the increased use of the Cycle Network; increase in tourism without increase in road traffic; promotion of RCT as a tourist destination; promotion of the Green Profile of Rhondda Cynon Taff and the Welsh Assembly Government.

What would its impact be: The project would make a major contribution to eco-tourism in South Wales, helping to respond to climate change by introducing local communities and Welsh tourism at large, to a highly desirable, low carbon leisure alternative through use and promotion of clean and renewable energy forms on site, and by encouraging the use of traffic-free routes in Wales, the site being only accessible to the public via the Celtic Trail.
To encourage visitors to take energy-efficient measures at home. Exploitin g the picturesque natural assets for the good of the local community and to boost rural tourism without adverse effect.

Roughly what might be the scale of the project: A substantial eco-tourism venture that will profile South Wales at the forefront of eco-tourism and environmental awareness initiatives.

Estimated Cost: £1.9 million

Where might the match funding come from: private & other