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Laugharne walking through Dylan Thomas poems
Image of the boat house
Carmarthenshire County Council restored the boat house and writing shed

A new walking trail is being developed in Laugharne to celebrate the life and work of Dylan Thomas.

Visitors will be encouraged to read and walk in the footsteps of the legendary poet.

They will be guided through an area which was home to the literary giant half a century ago, and provided him with a constant source of inspiration.

The trail through Laugharne woodland has been inspired by a poem Thomas wrote on his 30th birthday.

Birthday destination

Called A Poem in October, it describes the view as you walk along the path.

Organisers hope to make the town a birthday destination, where visitors will walk the trail every year and read Thomas' prophetic words "O may my hearts truth still be sung on this high hill in a year's turning."

The Laugharne Corporation is behind the scheme and has just secured a grant of £12,857 from the Developing Identity and Distinctiveness programme.

The project is a partnership between Carmarthenshire County Council and Menter Bro Dinefwr, which has received funding through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013.

It is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

The money will pay for five interpretative panels and benches to be situated along the walk.

The panels will include information about Dylan's life and work and verses of the poem will be printed on plaques.

Regeneration bosses say the project will help to cement Laugharne's growing reputation as a tourist destination.

The council's community regeneration manager John Wilson said: "The idea for the project has been developed to gain a better understanding of Dylan Thomas' poetry by reading and walking in his footsteps.

"It will increase the number of visitors to Laugharne and make the town a birthday destination, providing a great boost to tourism in the area.

"The scheme will complement the other attractions that promote the life and work of Dylan Thomas in Laugharne."

The project has been supported by the Dylan Thomas Centre, Laugharne Community Council and Carmarthenshire Tourist Association.

Tourism

Tens of thousands of people already visit Laugharne every year, to see for themselves the area which provided Dylan Thomas with his inspiration.

Thousands from overseas have all made the long journey to the little cliff-side house where he and his wife Caitlin lived.

Estimates show there have been more than 500,000 visitors to the Boat House since it was first opened as a heritage centre back in the 1980s.

Around 20,000 people visit every year, with many more looking at the writing shed as well as thousands of schoolchildren on educational visits.

Carmarthenshire County Council has restored the boat house and writing shed in recent years, to secure them for future generations.

Regeneration Executive Board Member Clive Scourfield said: "The Boat House in Laugharne is of international importance and the appeal of Dylan Thomas is very broad.

"He was a pioneer of broadcasting, wrote film scripts and brilliant short stories and was a prolific writer of consistently high quality poetry.

"He is a very important part of our heritage and Laugharne attracts visitors from across the world.

"We are very privileged to have such an internationally important site in the area and I am delighted that this project has received funding, leading to a further visitor boost."




SEE ALSO
Dylan Thomas special artwork
16 Jun 10 |  Arts & Culture
Image of Dylan Thomas at the BBC
24 May 10 |  Arts & Culture
Plans to regenerate rural towns
24 May 10 |  Wales

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