Outdoor adventure centre and visitor attraction How Stean Gorge, near Harrogate, has been awarded a £66,000 EU grant which will part-fund a spectacular £175,000 extension to the centre.
How Stean Gorge’s new 1,000 sq ft extension will include floor-to-ceiling glass walls looking out into the gorge canopy and a cantilevered glass floor enabling visitors to see down into the depths of the ravine.
The new facility, due for completion in April next year, will be used for corporate and educational away-day sessions as well as special events, weddings and private dining.
The 20m-deep, 1km-long limestone gorge, which was acquired by owners Stan and Ann Beer and Keith Boardall in 2007, has been developed from a walk-through cave and footpath into a full outdoor pursuits centre with a campsite, two bunkbarns and community Post Office. The centre offers adventure activities such as canoeing, gorge scrambling, abseiling and caving to corporate groups, families, as well as stag and hen parties, and has one of only two high-wire ‘via ferrata‘ climbing courses in England.
Owner, Stan Beer, said:
We’re really proud to have designed a space that has a real wow factor and makes the most of this incredibly special place. The outdoor adventure aspect of the business has increased dramatically in recent years and we have also outgrown our current indoor capacity as the popularity of the restaurant has taken off.
The fantastic new extension will help position How Stean to expand into new markets, increase bookings and encourage longer visitor stays, which will all boost the long-term sustainability and profitability of this rural business.
The extension, designed by Nidderdale architectural designer James Robinson, will also create two new jobs, taking the workforce at the gorge to 12.
Previous European Structural Fund awards enabled the centre to develop new shower facilities and a water treatment plant; a new vehicle bridge spanning the gorge; as well as an online booking facility, creating two new jobs in 2011.