A 200 years old renovated water mill in Talgarth has won Silver in the World Responsible Tourism Awards in London this month, recognised amongst projects around the globe in the Best for Engaging People and Culture category, and beaten only by Urban Adventure in Australia.
Felin Talgarth Mill has put the small Welsh town on the map as a tourist destination since 2010 when the community project won backing from a BBC and National Lottery regeneration scheme to breathe new life into a mill that had fallen into disrepair since closing in the 1940s. Following screening of Village SOS in August 2011, the mill received 12,000 visitors, and now attracts some 5,000 a year, with over 15 tonnes of flour milled since 2012.
The award announcement was made at the World Travel Market at ExCel, London. In his citation, Professor Harold Goodwin, Chair of the judging panel, said: “A community project run by 30 very committed volunteers – the cultural activities of milling and baking have brought economic vitality back to the town and enabled the co-located craft and cottage interior businesses to launch. They have used tourism to restore their mill and bring economic development to their market town.”
The judges were looking for tourism providers with deep, long-standing connections and commitments to the local community and exciting policies and practices for celebrating local culture and ways of life.
Liz Rose, Manager of Felin Talgarth Mill said: “This is such good news for our amazing team of volunteers who have worked so hard. Many of our volunteers have been involved since the renovation of the mill five years ago, and it’s great to see their commitment recognised. It’s been an exciting year at the mill with no less than three Great Taste Awards for our various types of stone ground flour, and now recognition on the world stage alongside some tourism industry giants.”
Previous mill Manager, Gez Richards, was in London to receive the award the day before sailing off with his wife Sue to pursue his life-long dream of crossing the Atlantic on the tall ship, the SS Tenacious with a crew of both able bodied and disabled.
Founded in 2004 by Responsible Travel, the World Responsible Tourism Awards are a global search and celebration of the most inspiring and enduring responsible tourism experiences in the world.
Felin Talgarth Mill is now one of Brecon Beacons’ leading visitor attractions, bringing in thousands for tours, milling experiences, baking courses, and The Bakers’ Table, a superb café, and the designated Best Place to Eat in Wales this year. The mill has rejuvenated other businesses in the community.