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Tywi Valley Path welcomed by tourism businesses

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Left to right: Board Member for Regeneration and Leisure Cllr Meryl Gravell, Director of Environment Ruth Mullen, Executive Board Member for the Environment Cllr Hazel Evans and Head of Transport & Highways Stephen Pilliner.

AMBTIOUS plans to create a 16-mile walking and cycling path through the scenic Tywi Valley have been welcomed by tourism businesses in Carmarthenshire.

Local accommodation providers, food and drink establishments and tourist attraction operators attended an event at The Plough Inn in Rhosmaen, Llandeilo, organised by Carmarthenshire Tourism Association and Carmarthenshire County Council and funded through the Welsh Government’s Regional Tourism Engagement Fund.

The aim was for businesses to find out how they can benefit from the county’s expanding cycling market and make the most of the opportunities these large-scale cycling events bring to the area.

They had an update on the council’s cycling strategy which will soon be going out to consultation and heard from cycling industry experts including Matt Page who runs A Cycling and organises big cycling events in the county, Colin Porter from luggage transfer service company Walkalongway and Paul Smith who runs cycle-hire business Towy Valley Cycles.

They also had a presentation on the proposed multi-million-pound Tywi Valley Path which will follow an almost adjacent route to that of the River Tywi, linking in with major tourist attractions between Carmarthen and Llandeilo.

It is estimated the project could attract 15,000 visitors a year, generating between £860,000 and £2million in the local economy and create and support up to 41 full-time jobs.

Former pro cyclist Matt Page said he was very supportive of the project: “I think it is going to bring cycling to a different type of people, the hard-core road cyclist won’t use it, but it will be perfect for families and it will also show people the fantastic countryside we have got, which is great.”

Christoph Fischer, organiser of Hwyl Llandeilo Litfest, said: “I think it is fantastic, I am a keen cyclist and this ticks all the boxes. Some people do not want to cycle on the roads, so this will cater for them. I think it will attract more people to come here on cycling holidays and show them how beautiful the Tywi Valley is, it is a great way of seeing it.”

George Rashbrook, who runs the Forest Arms in Brechfa, described it as “not just a cycle path” but “route to discovery”. He said: “I think it is awesome and not just for cyclists. It will educate people about the landscape, the history of the route, the wildlife, the possibilities are endless.”

The path is being developed in phases and initial works have already taken place near the concrete works in Abergwili. Negotiations with landowners are ongoing, and various grant applications are being prepared / submitted.

Executive Board Member for the Environment Cllr Hazel Evans added: “It was great to see so many people at the event who were very positive about the project and could see the opportunities it could bring. We believe it will provide a huge boost for tourism in the area linking the tourist attractions along the route as well as local cafes, pubs and restaurants not to mention the accommodation providers and how they can add value to their business.

“Carmarthenshire wishes to become the cycling capital of Wales and the Tywi Valley Path is just one of a number of projects the council is working on; the refurbishment of the velodrome at Carmarthen Park is well underway and we have just recently allocated £500,000 from our capital programme to build a new closed road cycling circuit at Pembrey Country Park.”

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Council crews deal with fall-out of Storm Ophelia

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CARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL staff had a busy afternoon and night dealing with the fall-out of storm Ophelia which battered the west coast.

The highways team dealt with 34 separate incidents throughout the county as extreme winds brought down trees, branches and electricity cables well into the early hours of this morning (Oct 17).

During the day the Met Office recorded winds of 75mph on Cefn Sidan sands, but the council received most calls during the evening, with the storm’s intensity seeming to peak between 4pm and 9pm.

Crews attended to clear fallen trees from Glandy Cross to Carmarthen, Llandovery to Llanelli where one tree fell onto a car in Vauxhall Street – thankfully with no injuries.

Electricity cables were brought down in St Clears with damage to property roofs in Water Street, Carmarthen, and Capel Hendre.

All routes were open this morning, but crews are now clearing debris along miles of road.

Cllr Hazel Evans, executive board member for environment, said: “Our frontline crews were out into the early hours of this morning in terrible conditions to clear and re-open roads. Back at base, our duty officers, contact centre staff and Careline agents also dealt with a large number of calls from members of the public. I’d like to thank all staff for their efforts, as well as farmers, landowners and police who helped throughout the storm.”

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Two hospitalised and dogs cut free after crash

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TWO people have been taken to Morriston Hospital following a crash in the early hours of this morning (Oct 17).

Fire crews also had to cut two dogs free from the wreckage following the collision, which involved a 4×4 vehicle.

The collision took place between Pencader and Llandysul shortly after 1am.

A spokesperson for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “We received a call at 1.14am this morning to reports of a traffic collision three miles outside Pencader.

“Fire crews from Carmarthen and Llandysul had to release two dogs from the vehicle using small gear, a short extension ladder and lighting equipment.”

A spokesperson for the Welsh Ambulance Service added: “We sent two crews in emergency ambulances and a paramedic in a rapid response vehicle and two patients were taken to Morriston Hospital in Swansea.”

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Rugby player left needing surgery

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A RUGBY player was left needing surgery after an unprovoked attack left him with a broken jaw.

Chris Rogers was in action for Ferryside against Pontardawe in a League 3 West Central C game on Saturday, October 14, when the incident occurred.

The Herald understands that a scuffle had broken out between a few other players towards the end of their match and that Chris was standing away from this.

It is alleged that a Pontardawe player came from behind and attacked Chris. He was treated at the scene and taken to Morriston Hospital.

Chris had surgery on Sunday night and the Herald were told that he was allowed home from hospital on Monday (Oct 16). His face is still swollen and he is still in shock from the incident.

Pontardawe’s secretary has called to see how the player is doing.

It was the first time the two sides have played each other and there was no apparent reason behind the alleged attack.

The police have also been informed of the incident.

Chris had to have a plate and wiring put in his jaw and the doctors have told him not to play again.

Ferryside Coach Nathan Jones told the Herald that Chris is totally ‘against violence’ and that it was very sad that this sort of thing had happened to him.

Chris and the Club have received much support from the wider community with a number of people saying that there is no place in rugby for something like this.

The Herald wishes Chris a full recovery from his injuries.

A spokesperson for South Wales Police told the Herald: “South Wales Police received a report of an assault on Sunday, October 15, at 09:46hrs, in connection with an incident the previous day (15:30hrs).

“Police are currently investigating the assault of the male. If witnesses have any information please contact 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 quoting occurrence: 1700401165.”

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