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King Arthur's legend will be revisited for Wales' 2017 Year of Legends

Oswestry | Entertainment | Published:

According to the ancient tale, King Arthur still sleeps in a cave in the hills across the Shropshire border in Mid Wales.

The legend says he is waiting for the call to rescue the nation when it is in danger.

The King Arthur story resonates with visitors – and now it will be used to attract more tourists.

King Arthur's legend will be revisited as part of Wales' 2017 Year of Legends.

It is hoped the tale will benefit the region in the same way it attracts crowds to attractions like Tintagel in Cornwall and Glastonbury in Somerset.

In Mid Wales, King Arthur's Labyrinth tourist attraction in Corris, is to play a pivotal part in the campaign as many of these ancient Arthurian legends are said to originate from nearby.

Meanwhile, bordering Shropshire is believed to be the birthplace of Queen Ganhumara – Guinevere of Arthurian legend – who was rumoured to have been born at Oswestry's 3,000-year-old hill fort.

This all links in with the release of a new film about King Arthur as part of the Welsh Government's Year of Legends marketing campaign that aims to promote Wales' culture and heritage and follows on from the 2016 Year of Adventure.

A spokesman from the Labyrinth said: "We will reopen on April 1 with some brand new surprises for the Welsh Year of Legends.

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"King Arthur's Labyrinth is an exciting underground adventure which begins as you sail along an underground river, through the great waterfall, deep inside the spectacular and vast caverns of the labyrinth far into the past.

"Found deep beneath the mountains of southern Snowdonia, we think this mysterious attraction is one of the best days out. Best described as an underground storytelling adventure, it's a cool attraction when hot and a dry attraction when wet and with lots more things to do."

Stories of King Arthur in Wales are based on traditional legends from original sources including the Mabinogion and the Tales of Taliesin.

They include the adventures of Merlin at Dinas Emrys, the battle between the white and the red dragon and the voyage to Avalon.

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There are also references to the lost land of Cantre'r Gwaelod and the legend that Arthur still sleeps in a cave in the Welsh hills waiting for the call.

Welsh economy secretary Ken Skates, who represents Chirk and the Dee Valley, said according to the Welsh Government £150 million is spent on holidays in Wales every year.

Culture and heritage is the main activity, with 61 per cent of overseas visitors citing Wales' historic sites as a key reason for their visit.

He said the border region is also important in attracting day trippers and holidaymakers from Shropshire and the wider Midlands region and the marketing campaign will aim to increase visits from people from those areas.

He said: "The campaign is about creating and celebrating Welsh legends, modern-day personalities, products and events that are made in Wales, or enriched by coming here. It should resonate and make a difference in 2017."

Visit Wales has already approved £1.28m for 35 projects as part of the year which includes a Merlin Festival in Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire and a jousting tournament and banquet in Conwy county.

There will also be recognition of global talent inspired by Wales, from Roald Dahl and Dylan Thomas to JRR Tolkien.

There will be tours and trails, plus exhibitions and collections by Amgueddfa Cymru and the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.

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