Page last updated at 09:33 GMT, Thursday, 1 January 2009

Ten 'iconic' sites win 2m cash

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How the extra money will help historical sites in Wales

Ten sites of "iconic significance to Welsh culture, heritage and nationhood" are to benefit from extra cash in 2009.

The Welsh Assembly Government has earmarked 2m to conserve the sites and make them safe and accessible.

Among the historic destinations which will benefit are Deganwy and Nevern Castles, Owain Glyndwr's manor Sycharth and Abergwyngregyn in Gwynedd.

Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones said it was an opportunity to enhance the experience for visitors to Wales.

The extra funding, announced on Thursday, is part of the 350m package from the Strategic Capital Investment Fund (Scif) unveiled last month.

The Welsh Cultural Heritage Initiative will be administered by Cadw, the assembly government's historic environment service which is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2009.

Sites already earmarked
Glyndyfrdwy - Owain Glyndwr's motte - in Denbighshire
Sycharth - Owain Glyndwr's manor in Powys
Nevern Castle in Pembrokeshire
Deganwy Castle in Conwy
Pennal on Gwynedd, associated with Owain Glyndwr's Pennal letters
Strata Florida, the ruins of a Cistercian Abbey in Powys
Abergwyngregyn on the north coast of Gwynedd which was the court of Llewelyn the Last.

So far, seven sites which will benefit from the programme of works have been announced and Cadw is in discussions with other owners.

Mr Jones said mainly smaller sites which may find it difficult to attract public subsidy had been chosen.

"They are significantly important in the history of Wales, and we also need to make them places that are more accessible to people and to give people more information about their historical significance," he said.

The minister said he believed it was proper use of the funding.

"It is because I think it is an opportunity for us to enhance the experience of people who come here to Wales, " he said.

"It's part of the heritage tourism programme and also I think its an opportunity for us to learn more about our own history, promote some of these lesser-known sites, but sites which were very very important in their day and important to an understanding of the history of Wales."

Our history will not always be a comfortable story
Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones

Archaeologist Neil Johnstone from the Institute of Field Archaeologists welcomed the funding.

"In the context of the current financial climate, it's a huge boost to heritage in Wales, " he said.

"We're struggling of course to deliver projects on the basis of the lottery funding being cut back so to have this additional funding is very welcome.

"Some of the sites stand out for their significance in terms of Welsh culture and history. It's a good list, it's a good selection."

Mr Jones also congratulated Cadw on its anniversary and said he was looking forward to a full year of activities "to celebrate the rich diversity of Wales' historic environment".

He said: "Cadw plays a crucial role in telling the story of our history and we as a nation need to feel proud of our built heritage and embrace it.

"Our history will not always be a comfortable story. We have to remember our castles weren't planned and built as tourism attractions - they have a real story behind them, a story we should all be familiar with and proud of."



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