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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 April, 2004, 12:31 GMT 13:31 UK
Chapel to be walkers' centre
Capel Bethania
The chapel is expected to open to visitors next year
A Victorian chapel is to be converted into a visitors' centre for walkers in Snowdonia, after a 136,000 European grant.

Capel Bethania at Nantgwynant is at the foot of Snowdon, just a few yards from the Watkin path.

More than 25,000 walkers use the path to reach Snowdon's summit each year.

EU Objective One money, along with 125,000 from the Welsh Assembly Government will pay for refurbishment of the 150-year-old building.

The centre will include a cafe, visitor and travel information, as well as a computer access for disabled visitors, linked to cameras in the mountains.

The chapel held its last service five years ago and local volunteers with Cwmni Gwynant Cyf have been behind the project to restore it for the use of local people and visitors.

Nia Powell, Cwmni Gwynant Cyf secretary said the centre could tap into the tourist market and help the local economy.

"Our market research shows that walkers use the path but there's almost nowhere in the immediate area for them to spend their money - afterwards they get in their cars and just leave," she said.

Original features in the Grade II listed building, including the wooden seats and pulpit are being kept.

Local councillor June Jones said: "I know how hard Gwynant Cyf has worked on this project during the past two years in terms of planning and fundraising and am now extremely pleased to see the work finally moving ahead."

It is hoped that work will be completed in October and the chapel will reopen next year.

Footpath finished 110 years late
17 Oct 03  |  North West Wales

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