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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 January, 2004, 15:11 GMT
Wales loses heritage park
A pyramid at sunset
The attraction draws on the influence of ancient civilisations

A tourist attraction exploring ancient civilisations planned for Snowdonia will open in England instead after a 100,000 grant application was refused by the Wales Tourist Board.

The Wisdom of the Ancients cultural heritage park had been due to open in Dolgellau in the spring.

The tourist board said it refused the money because the park was too similar to other nearby attractions.

But the company denied that and said it was now too late to raise the extra cash needed.

The company is also frustrated with the grant system.

The tourist board aims to reply to grant applications within 50 days, but the company said it took three and a half months to learn it had been turned down.

From the wonders of the pyramids of Egypt to Stonehenge, the exhibition had aimed to provide examples of the evidence and clues left behind in ancient sites and from artefacts, mythology and folklore.

We were careful to make sure we were providing an unique thing - to our knowledge there is nothing in the world like it.
Diahann Hughes, Wisdom of the Ancients
The Wisdom of the Ancients' managing director Diahann Hughes said the bad news had come at the last minute.

She said: "The crucial factor was the funding... we were expecting it to be how much, not whether or not it was going through.

"In the Snowdonia National Park there are a lot of ancient sites and the landscape has been very well preserved and people come to explore it.

'Careful consideration'

"What we were providing was an educational opportunity to learn more about it."

In a statement, the Wales Tourist Board said: "We gave this high quality proposal careful consideration.

"Regretfully, we concluded that it is not significant enough in its differences or size to other attractions with similar themes in mid Wales.

"Therefore, we do not consider that it could attract sufficient additional tourism growth in the area - a key factor in any decision to allocate public funds to new ventures."

Ms Hughes said the the Wisdom of the Ancients was not similar to the Celtica tourist attraction in nearby Machynlleth,which explores the heritage and culture of the Celts.

She said: "We were careful to make sure we were providing an unique thing, in fact to our knowledge there is nothing in the world like it."

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