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The sad and abandoned state of an iconic tourist attraction now lost in woodland

Penscynor Wildlife Park created precious lifelong memories for generations of Welsh families but a walk around there today is a very eerie experience

Remains of the chimpanzee house at the former Penscynor Wildlife Park

For generations of Welsh children, it was a place which created precious lifelong memories. The chance to see penguins, sea lions, snakes, birds, meerkats and monkeys were all among the highlights of many a school trip. And the adults loved it too.

Penscynor Wildlife Park was an iconic name in south-west Wales. It earned an amazing reputation through the years, and at one point, a quarter of a million people would pass through its gates each and every year. The man behind it all was Jon Quant, who, after seeing the semi-derelict Penscynor House and its 12 acres had come on the market, took it on as a place to house the private collection of birds put together by his grandfather Idris Hale, whose interest in wildlife had taken him overseas to Indonesia. It snowballed from there.

Located in Cilfrew, Neath, it was one of the top three tourist attractions in the country at one stage, and would welcome up to fifty buses a day, many of which would have a sticker in the window of the logo of the park featuring a stylised menagerie of animals. The sticker was a common sight on the roads, thanks to the thousands that had been handed out to visitors. Even today, it will be instantly recognisable to thousands of us. For the latest Welsh news delivered to your inbox sign up to our newsletter.

Sadly for many, the Welsh climate was not the most reliable foundation for business, and by the late nineties the writing was on the wall. The business was forced to close and the animals rehomed. Today, a walk around the derelict site of the place which was once so full of energy, life and excitement is a sadder and nostalgic experience.

It is almost haunting walking around and seeing how things have now changed. That once familiar buzz in the air of families enjoying memorable moments has gone, and has been replaced by a damp, eerie and silent atmosphere. Nature has had its way with the site, with vegetation and overgrowth where there would once be trails used by hundreds or thousands daily.

These new pictures are a walk down memory lane, offering a glimpse at all corners of the site, including the remains of the chimpanzee house, empty cages, the alpine slide viewing bridge and the old pool. Join our WhatsApp news community here for the latest breaking news.