New Welsh Outdoor Centre With Major Dry Ski Slope Moves Forward

Plans for what has, in previous incarnations, been priced at a £200 million year-round leisure resort development in the Afan Valley of South Wales have been granted conditional planning approval.

Originally unveiled as the Afan Valley Leisure Resort project in spring 2017, the centre was originally slated to offer a range of outdoor sports including white water rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking and what was billed as “the world’s largest artificial downhill ski slope” on 130 hectares of former forestry plantation land on the southern slopes of the River Afan Valley. People would stay in one of 600 lodges and flats or a proposed hotel with facilities also including a spa and restaurants The planned opening year was originally 2021.

With construction work still not started the proposals have now been rebranded the Wildfox Resort Afan Valley and a new team led by the Salamanca Group, a privately-held merchant banking business, has come on board.  The team behind the original proposals, Afan Valley Ltd., which won initial planning permission in early 2019, has since gone into administration.

“We are creating a new team with the expertise, finance and capability to deliver the Wildfox Resort to achieve positive social and environmental benefits for local communities. We appreciate the complexities of this project, the frustrations and disappointments of the past and understand what is required to turn it around,” said Martin Bellamy, Chairman and CEO of the Salamanca Group.

At the time of its original launch by the previous proposers, the centre’s preview website said that the ski facilities would include black, red and blue runs – the latter a meandering tree-lined course served by drag and chair lifts.  There would also be, “…slalom courses, tubing, moguls, ski-school, kindergarten and toboggan runs for youngsters.”

(Images from the initial announcement)

There’s currently no detailed information on the ski facilities planned for Wildfox Resort but a masterplan on the resort’s website shows an ‘Alpine Zone’ which appears to feature a lift and substantial dry slope which looks like it could be one of Europe’s largest.  

Wildfox Resorts say they hope work on the site will begin in 2022 and the centre open in 2024.  They also say it will be the first of three now being planned in the UK by their company.