Tackling the traffic with the Hoppa Harlech
With the thousands of tourists who visit Harlech each year come challenges as well as opportunities – and tackling one of these challenges is just what the Harlech Hoppa aims to do.
There’s no doubt that Harlech Castle is one of the main attractions in the region – and with its location in the upper part of the town, close to the steepest hill in the world, many opt to drive up to see it. This causes severe parking problem – and if there’s no space visitors tend to leave without spending time in the castle or the town – which isn’t great news for local businesses.
To respond to the problem Arloesi Gwynedd Wledig organised a shuttle bus to run between the car park in the lower part of Harlech up to the castle every half an hour, everyday during the 2018 summer holidays . The project was so successful that the community has decided to run it themselves this year.
Freya Bentham is the councillor for Harlech. She explains how the project has helped the town: “The project was so useful last year that we decided it was worth running again this year. Without AGW investment this would not have been possible – and the survey conducted as part of the work showed us that people were willing to stay just that bit longer and spend more in Harlech – which is great news for local businesses. Running the Hoppa again this year made perfect sense.”
Zoe Pritchard of AGW said: “With our support the group in Harlech had the confidence to go ahead with the Hoppa themselves. They’ve learnt what worked and what didn’t, which proves the importance of trialling ideas like this. In essence our purpose at AGW it to pilot, learn and share best practice, and this project it a perfect example of this.”
This project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government. It’s also part funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and Gwynedd Council.