Members of CIPFA (the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy) visited Craig-y-Nos Country Park in Pen-y-Cae on Thursday, July 5 as part of their continuing professional development programme.
CIPFA members attended the dedicated study room of the Upper Swansea Valley site to listen to Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority Chief Executive, John Cook and Director of Countryside and Land Management, Julian Atkins give an in-depth talk about the financial challenges the Authority faces in managing a protected landscape. The party then enjoyed a walk around the beautiful Country Park, whist hearing about the ongoing conservation works taking place to enhance this popular tourist attraction.
In the late 1800s Craig-y-Nos Country Park formed the luxurious private grounds of the estate belonging to world famous opera singer Adelina Patti. Today the grounds are open for everyone to enjoy – 40 acres of natural beauty with countless woods, lakes and ponds, as well as an onsite cafe, education facilities, ample car parking and public toilets, attracting more than 100,000 visitors a year.
CIPFA Cymru-Wales President Steven O’Donoghue said the group’s visit had provided a ‘fascinating’ insight into the work of the National Park Authority: “What we took away from today is an understanding of the pressures put on this important part of public services, and how an authority can use good business planning and financial management practices to tackle performance issues and deliver better, whilst working to reduced resources in the face of tight budget constraints.
“This is an historically important part of the National Park and it is very accessible. The National Park means different things to different people – there are places where the environment can be quite challenging, but there are also places like this where people like me can come and enjoy the outdoors. It is accessible to everyone. It is also great to see a local company running the cafe, really putting life back into the place.”
Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority Chief Executive John Cook added: “We were delighted to welcome CIPFA members to our Country Park and show them the facilities and landscape that make this venue so special. The continued hard work of volunteers and the presence of the cafe franchise are starting to rejuvenate Craig-y-Nos Country Park back to its former glory as a vibrant visitor attraction – it’s a site we can all be extremely proud of.”
For more information about Craig-y-Nos Country Park and the facilities available please call 01639 730395, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.breconbeacons.org.