YNYSLAS Visitor Centre will not close at the end of the month – but its future remains uncertain.

At a crowded public meeting in Borth on Friday night, representatives of Natural Resources Wales heard

concerns about the impact the centre closing would have on the community, the staff, and the nature reserve.

The meeting was chaired by Ceredigion County Councillor for Borth ward, Hugh Hughes. Ceredigion MP Ben Lake, and Plaid Cymru MS Elin Jones also attended, as well as members of the NRW, including NRW Director of Communications, Customer and Commercial, Sarah Jennings.

Sarah Jennings outlined why the NRW was considering closing Ynyslas, alongside two other visitor centres in Wales, Coed y Brenin in Gwynedd, and Bwlch Nant yr Arian in Ceredigion. The centres were built in ‘a time of plenty’ when the NRW had access to more funding than it has now.

Despite the NRW’s concerns for funding, Sarah confirmed Ynyslas visitor centre would not be closing at the end of March.

She said: “The visitor centre in Ynyslas will not be closing on 31 March. We are out for recruitment now in all of our visitor centres for the season. We are looking to keep things running as long as we can, but it is difficult and we want to work with people to find a long term solution.

“There is no secret plan, and no decisions have been made yet. But the reality is these visitor centres were built in a time of plenty, when we had funding we don’t have now.”

Ynyslas visitor centre
The meeting was held on Friday night in Borth (Cambrian News)

Sarah also revealed the Ynyslas visitor centre is making a loss of about £50,000 a year, but the other two visitor centres, Coed Y Brenin and Bwlch Nant yr Arian are each losing up to about £500,000 a year.

In order to address the loss, the NRW tried running the visitor centres in a more commercial way in October 2023. Hoping it would increase revenue, they held activities during the autumn and winter months, which would usually stop at the end of the summer season.

However, the way the environment body addressed the loss was met by frustration from audience members in Friday’s meeting. One audience member claimed they had not made an effort to save any money, and others pointed out that the NRW could bring in more than the £50,000 needed to make up Ynyslas’ loss by increasing the cost of parking by £1 or £2.

The revelation also led some audience members to feel like the three visitor centres were being looked at as one rather than individual centres with different circumstances, and that Ynyslas was ‘paying the price’ for the losses in other visitor centres.

One audience member said: “Ynyslas isn’t taking a loss like the other visitor centres, but it will be paying the price.”

Though Sarah admitted the NRW had no concrete plan for the future of Ynyslas and the three visitor centres, she mentioned the NRW were looking to work with local people and enterprises who have an interest in taking over the running of the Ynyslas Visitor Centre’s cafe and shop.

“The NRW has to make some big decisions, and we’re not just looking at visitor centres, there are about 172 different services where we are considering how we might do things differently.

“We want to work with you as a community and we are looking for expressions of interest from community members who would like to work with us to find long term solutions.”

The NRW first announced they were considering closing the Ynyslas visitor centre in December 2023, but Borth residents rallied to sign a petition calling for it to be ‘saved.’ Within days, the petition got more than 2,800 signatures.