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New bridge installed at Harlech Castle

A new bridge was installed at Harlech Castle last month, which will allow visitors to enter the site through the original historic entrance for the first time in more than 600 years.

Harlech Castle bridge - photo courtesy CADW

The spectacular ‘floating’ bridge  is part of a £5.8m project that is transforming the World Heritage Site located in northern Wales.  The work has been funded through the Heritage Tourism Project, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and led by Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service.

As well as the installation of the bridge, the project is turning the old Harlech Castle hotel into a brand new visitor centre including an audio-visual experience, retail area and a tearoom.

“The key purpose of this project has been to deliver the Welsh Government’s vision of presenting the castle and its history in a way that does justice to its status as a World Heritage Site,” said Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism in the Welsh government. “In so doing so we have created a better visitor offer that will aim to bring increased tourism and the associated economic benefits to the area. Across Wales, our historic environment supports more than 30,000 jobs and contributes more than £840 million to Wales’ economy each year. That’s why in 2015 we’ll be introducing the Heritage Bill to the Senedd; we want to take action to protect our past so that it continues to make a difference to the people of Wales, both now and in the future.”

Throughout the project, Cadw has worked with members of the public, nearby tourist attraction providers and local businesses. The project is due for completion in March 2015.

You can watch this time lapse footage of a new ‘floating’ bridge being lowered into place at Harlech Castle.

Harlech Castle was built between 1282 and 1289 by Edward I at a cost of £8,190. The castle, which  is considered to be one of “the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe” according to UNESCO, saw action in the wars against the Welsh in the late 13th century, the revolt of Owain Glyndŵr, the Wars of the Roses and the English Civil War. Partly destroyed in the 17th century, it has since gone on to become a major tourist attraction in Wales.

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