One of the world’s greenest adventure parks is going to be even greener after drilling down 250 feet to find its own water supply deep under the foothills of Eryri.
Crystal clear water from the bore hole at GreenWood Family Park, in Felinheli, in Gwynedd, is due to be coming on stream by Easter – just in time for the main tourism season.
The discovery coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Green Dragon, the planet’s only zero carbon rollercoaster which goes on a 250 metre loop through the park’s woods.
It’s one of more than 30 rides and attractions which also include Solar Splash, thought to be the UK’s first solar-powered water slide.
The park’s burgeoning eco-friendly credentials prompted a visit by members of the Net Zero North Wales Network who came on a fact-finding mission to see the green revolution in action.
The aim of the network is to share information and best practice to help other businesses and organisations in the region, as part of the campaign to help North Wales reach net zero status.
The fun-filled centre, recently named the Best Family Attraction in North Wales by TripAdvisor, is owned by the Continuum Attractions group whose portfolio includes some of the most successful visitor attractions in the UK, including The Coronation Street Experience, the Loch Ness Centre and Emmerdale The Village Tour.
Unusually for an attraction in North West Wales a shortage of water has been an issue at the park with each visitor, up to 2,000 a day at the peak of the season, using up over 15 litres.
Commercial and Development Manager Andrew Baker said:
“The bore hole has been installed by Dragon Drilling from the Corwen area and they say there’s plenty of water and the pressure and quality is among the best they’ve done.
“For me, it’s a natural step to become even more sustainable by sinking our own bore hole.
“All told it represents an investment of around £50,000 and it will provide for the majority of our water needs into the future, although we’ll still be attached to the network.
“We’re right out on a limb here so in the summer in the past the flow has been a bit slow in terms of pressure.
“As well as alleviating that problem, it will reduce the big bills that come with it – we’re looking at a saving of £40,000 in year one so that’s a very rapid return on investment.
“It’s going to be a great help at a time when utility costs continue to spiral.
“Every which way you look at it, this project is a no-brainer because this works on every level. As well as making us greener, it helps our bottom line.
“In addition we have 576 solar panels, generating 150kW of electricity which provide all our electricity with 20 per cent left over to sell back to the National Grid and we are looking at installing batteries.
“We have glamping Tipi’s so people can stay and experience our green ethos with a slight concession that there is a phone-charging facility and we also have a natural sewage treatment system using reed beds.
“At GreenWood we believe people are attracted by our environmental credentials and with new plans to open for longer into the shoulder months of the year, and we are aiming for a 10 per cent increase in visitor numbers.”
The visit was organised by Ashley Rogers, the Chief Executive of the North Wales Business Council, which runs the Net Zero North Wales Network.
“It’s amazing that it’s only now that the world is catching up with GreenWood Family Park because this place was decades ahead of its time when it opened.
“This is a prime example of a business from the start that has never compromised on its green ethos from building a self-propelled rollercoaster 20 years ago, to being pretty much self-sufficient in electricity, to drilling a bore hole this year.
“It’s a business that’s sustainable to its core and it must be one of the greenest visitor attractions in the world.
“Continuum have an amazing vision and we will be sharing what we have learnt on this visit with the rest of the Net Zero North Wales Network.”
Net Zero North Wales Ambassador and renewable energy expert Gareth Jones, Managing Director of the Carbon Zero Group, was impressed.
“I’ve visited before with my family and it’s wonderful to see how they are continuing with the fantastic work of the previous owners and founders.
“It has certainly proved a winning formula in the past and the new owners are continuing and building on that work which was years ahead of its time.
“What they did was not overly complicated but it has withstood the test of time and there are things here which are unique in the world not just in North Wales.
“You wonder how much energy it would have taken to operate the Green Dragon rollercoaster over the last 20 years and how much have they saved as a result of its zero power design. It’s amazing really and the carbon savings must be enormous as well.”
The next Net Zero North Wales Network session takes place at Pontio in Bangor at 12.20pm on Wednesday, February 21. For more information and to book a ticket go to: https://bit.ly/3vMg8xP
The Net Zero North Wales Network has received £126,000 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and is supported by Gwynedd Council and Conwy County Borough Council.