FROM OPENCAST MINE TO SUSTAINABLE LEISURE
Walters Arena originally started life just after WW2 as a massive 4,000 acre opencast coal surface mine. It was home and workplace to some of the largest earthmoving equipment ever seen on the UK mainland including the 1,800t Ransomes and Rapier Walking Dragline . After British Coal and later George Wimpey wiped out the coal reserves, the site was loosely backfilled, topsoiled and planted with conifers and mixed grass. In the 1990’s Walters took over the partially reclaimed and re-planted site and undertook a significant overhaul, increasing tree planting for timber and improving the quality of the topsoil, landscaping, roads and public access. Once again, we recognised potential for sustainable, long term development.
AN INTERNATIONALLY FAMOUS VENUE
The site quickly evolved to become a major international motorsport complex. Hosting the internationally prestigious Welsh round of the World Rally Championships, The RAC Rally and Wales Rally GB amongst the events. Now firmly established as an internationally famous testing venue for Manufactures World Rally teams, it’s had its share if very famous patrons, (5 in one day!) with most of the recent World Rally Champions having tested there at one time or another. It’s also used by world leading manufacturers to develop their road cars and competition derivatives. There are several national and international competition events held there for rally cars, 4×4 vehicles, etc Manufacturers and dealers often hire the venue for new model press launches and corporate events, also Walters Arena has featured on Top Gear, Fifth Gear, Wheeler Dealers and may more TV Programmes.
Home to the BMW Off-Road Skills Motorcycle experience for many years, it’s become embedded in the psyche of budding Adventure motorcyclists from around the world. The Dawn To Dusk 24hr motorcycle Enduro race is also hosted by the venue and internationally attended.
Unmatched for its variety of terrains, ranging from fire breaks and natural broad leaved woodland, to mature pine and larch plantations, criss-crossed by a bewildering array of gravel roads and smaller trails and paths of varying gradient not to stray from the footpaths as the facility is used for 300 days of the year and often has vehicles traveling at over 100mph! The fauna on the site, which includes several ponds and watercourses includes Peregrine Falcons, Red Kites, Sparrow Hawks, Barn Owls and the obligatory Rabbits of course, with Brown Hares returning slowly.
More recently it’s also become the home of the Maesgywn Windfarm, a Pennant-Walters development, in which the civil engineering division collaborated to build 13 x 2MW wind turbines, linked by 14km of new or refurbished gravel roads and 12km of buried cable, all connected to an on-site substation for grid supply.
A 3.7MW solar scheme has just gone live and there are further plans for a 100kW Hydro scheme, a 10MW Standby Gas Generation scheme and a further 7.5MW of wind generation. Maesgwyn is a unique and truly special site that has seen transformation from an opencast coal site to a hub of sustainable energy generation and one of the leading motorsport facilities in Wales. Truly a marriage of sustainable eco-friendly power, with the more traditional horsepower.
Please do not attempt to visit the facility without our permission or knowledge as it may not be safe to do so due to the nature of the facility. All motor cycle activities must be organised through enrolling on one of the courses by the BMW off road skills http://www.offroadskills.com/.
For more information about rally car testing for non-manufactures teams, corporate rally driving days, filming, photographs, product launches and 4 x4 events at the Arena, please contact us on 01685 815100 or via email on email@example.com
Walters Arena, A4109, Inter-Valley Rd, Neath SA10 9LR (Works Access sign at the top of the hill).