There’s been something magical happening behind closed doors in Rhayader...

For more than two years a team of dedicated and highly skilled people have been burning the midnight oil, ready for the official opening of a brand-new visitor attraction on Thursday, May 23 - TimeScape Rhayader / Amserwedd Rhaeadr Gwy. 

Timescape Rhayader is a new heritage and arts attraction, and will be the first all-weather attraction in Rhayader, offering tourists a dry base to explore the history and landscape of the town.

New installations look at the fascinating stories from the community and those who lived there before, their unique landscapes, climate change and sustainable behavior, folklore and belief, farming and the environment, migration and identity.

Cath Allan, CARAD’s co-director and creative lead on TimeScape Rhayader said: “We’re passionate believers in the power of creativity and heritage to bring people together in shared endeavours, and to inspire individuals to push themselves beyond their comfort zones. 

“This project has involved Rhayader’s community at every stage of its development, with over one hundred volunteers giving thousands of hours of their time. It’s a brilliant effort and an exceptional achievement! Together we’ve created an ambitious and inspiring all-weather heritage and arts attraction that showcases mid Wales and its unique place in Welsh History and on the world stage.

“This new attraction will suit all ages. Included within lots of fascinating new installations is a wonderfully atmospheric Dragon’s Cave, also accessible through a crawl-through tunnel (children or those with good knees only!) which features CARAD’s giant Copper Dragon sculpture, Queen Belrenin.”

A host of other new installations explore the area’s fascinating stories from the community today as well as those who lived there before. It explores the unique landscapes, folklore and beliefs which shaped their communities, in a welcoming and fascinating all-weather experience.

Cath added: “Our new digital displays include a magic i-sandbox, where children can explore and create landscapes and see dinosaurs in their natural habitat. There’s even a digital reconstruction of the Roman marching camp at Esgair Perfedd and Cwm Elan Mine on our digital table!” 

CARAD co-director Krysia Bass said: “We’ve created a unique, immersive environment that incorporates the old Rhayader Folk Museum Collections in new and innovative ways. Some items now on display haven’t been seen for over 50 years, and some others have never been seen by the public at all.

“TimeScape Rhayader / Amserwedd Rhaeadr Gwyr has been in development since lockdown and we couldn’t have done it without the support and trust of our key funding partners – the Welsh Government, Elan Links HLF Landscape Scheme, Powys County Council, Rhayader Town Council, Art Fund, Community Foundation Wales, Ashley Family Foundation, Oakdale Trust and Llysdinam Trust.”

CARAD Trustee Peter Cox MBE said: “TimeScape Rhayader aims to help CARAD become more sustainable and to grow tourism in Rhayader itself - capitalising on the half a million visitors who come to explore the Elan Valley each year. We can’t wait to welcome visitors. We’re immensely proud of what we’ve created and want to share it with as many people as possible. When we ran some preview tours the visitor responses were fantastic and so encouraging.”

Opening hours (from May 30) are: Thursday - Saturday 10.30am - 4pm, last entry at 3.30pm.

Ticket prices: Adults - £6. Children (under 16) – £0.01. There will be several ‘no pay’ days a year for local people.