As Wales’ outdoor tourism and hospitality sectors prepare to open today (26th April) following the easing of COVID restrictions, Zip World has launched the world’s fastest seated zip line in South Wales.
Zip World Tower is the result of the transformation of an old coal mine in the South Wales Valleys into an impressive outdoor adventure location in a bid to create a lasting legacy to the iconic site’s deep-routed mining heritage.
Joining Zip World owner Sean Taylor for a unique adrenaline fuelled experience, former miners at the Tower Colliery Anthony Green and Jason Donovan were the first people to ride the Phoenix to celebrate the iconic coal mine site being transformed into a thriving tourist attraction.
Set in the iconic Rhigos mountain range with stunning views that overlook beautiful Welsh landscapes including the Brecon Beacons, the Tower Colliery site is steeped in history.
Before its closure in 2008, it was the oldest continuously working deep coal mine in the UK.
It became a powerful symbol of the miners’ resistance in the 1990s, as workers invested their own money from redundancy payments to save the colliery from closure in 1994.
Zip World, who have proven experience of regenerating historic and iconic sites into thriving tourist attractions, will celebrate the opening of the company’s first site outside of North Wales.
Sean Taylor, founder of Zip World, said: “From slate caverns to quarry carting, Wales is home to some of the world’s best outdoor adventure destinations. It’s been a challenging time for the tourism sector over the past year but with the opening of Zip World Tower, we feel like it will only go from strength to strength.
“We have proven experience of preserving and regenerating iconic sites and as a passionate Welshman, I couldn’t think of a better location than the South Wales Valleys to create a new legacy and grow our brand outside of North Wales for the first time. We've been overjoyed with the amazing reception from the local community and businesses, who we can't thank enough for their continuing support. We feel at home already."
Launching with two new experiences, the Phoenix is officially the world’s fastest seated zip line, with four parallel lines in two separate zip zones, and was given its name as a nod to the resurrection of the historic site rising from the ashes.
Mini thrill seekers can get their kicks too, with Big Red – the largest mobile zip in the world – allowing children to ride alongside one another on 270ft zip line.
Soon to make its mark is the Tower Coaster which will be officially opened in late May. This side-by-side industrial style toboggan rollercoaster will be the only one of its kind in Europe.
Tyrone O’Sullivan OBE, chairman of the Tower Colliery, said: “It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to usher in a new chapter in the Tower story, in a way that captures the industrial history of the site and gives the local community a boost too. We were really impressed with how Zip World reinvented a slate quarry into a thriving tourist attraction at the Penrhyn Quarry in North Wales and couldn’t think of a better way to sustain the legacy of this iconic site.”
Zip World Tower is estimated to create 50 jobs in the Rhigos area initially increasing as the site develops and estimate 100k visitors in its first year of operation.
Anthony Green, a former miner who was part of the group that bought the Tower Colliery following, said: “I’ll be there on the opening day as I did a zip wire in Costa Rica last year and can’t wait to see how the Phoenix lives up to that!
“I have some wonderful memories of the Tower Colliery. Starting as a mining craft apprentice in 1981, I went on to do a range of roles there from catching rats, to working with explosives and eventually becoming a mining official. My proudest moment however, was of course being part of the miners buy-out in 1994 which showed the power of unity at such a challenging time.”
Be one of the first people to ride the Phoenix or Big Red at Zip World Tower and purchase your tickets now at: https://www.zipworld.co.uk/vouchers/buy