Members of the Clwydian Range Tourism Group welcomed Mark Isherwood MS to visit tourism businesses in Cefn Mawr and Llangollen as part of Wales Tourism Week. The tour started in the former Ebenezer Chapel, Cefn Mawr, which despite a grant in 2008 to restore the building for use as a community centre had been unoccupied since 2013. New owner David Metcalfe has recently re-opened the building with the aim of creating a hub for both community and visitors, including a Climate Crisis Mitigation Centre, a visitor information point, a gallery and exhibition space for local artists and craftworkers, and to make full use of the events area in front of the building. The historic industrial village of Cefn Mawr, which was of huge importance to the development of the canal network, is within the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site, and only minutes from the Pontcysyllte and Chirk aqueducts and the Chirk viaduct. Mr Isherwood expressed his support for the Centre in its aims of attracting many more of the tourists who visit the World Heritage Site to take that extra step away from the busiest sites to explore Cefn Mawr and its history.
[Image 1 : Mark Isherwood visiting the Ebenezer Centre]
From l. Mark Isherwood MS (second left), CRTG members, Ebenezer Centre team (David Metcalfe right).
In Llangollen, Beth Ward and Robin welcomed Mr Isherwood to Drosi Bikes CIC, explaining how a love of cycling coupled with a concern for the environment was the driving force behind the company, , which since May 2021 has been on a mission to encourage accessible cycling and reduce carbon footprints. As well as hiring bikes for the day or half day, the team at Drosi Bikes take in repairs, restore donated bikes for sale, and offer e-bike conversions. As a community interest company, the team supports a number of programmes to upskill and educate volunteers of all abilities. Mr Isherwood commended the company on the valuable service that it provides to the local community, that goes hand in hand with its sustainable approach to tourism and its contribution to the visitor economy.
[Image 2: Drosi Bikes CIC, The Fringe Shed, Llangollen]
From l. Julie Masters CRTG, Beth and Robin Drosi Bikes, Carol Smith CRTG, Mark Isherwood MS
Mr Isherwood’s final visit of the day was to The Dory Gallery on Regent Street, Llangollen, where the owner Suzanne Matheison explained how the gallery, opened in June 2021, had come about. An independent art gallery located in the former National School for the Poor, The Dory specialises in contemporary and abstract art, particularly the work of the late abstract artist Dory after whom the gallery is named, in an informal setting. Individual local artists and art groups are also championed, with regular displays of their work in various media being staged in a series of bright exhibition spaces. Mr Isherwood was pleased to hear that the gallery is popular with visitors to Llangollen as well as local residents, and said that the wide range of visitor experiences available in the town, of which The Dory Gallery is one, provides growing support for the local economy. The Clwydian Range Tourism Group expressed its thanks to Mr Isherwood for taking the time to visit the tourism businesses, and for his continuing and generous support for the tourism sector.
[Image 3: The Dory Gallery, Llangollen]
From l. Mark Isherwood MS, Julie Masters CRTG, Suzanne Matheison, The Dory Gallery.