Brechfa Forest and Llanllwni Mountain Tourism Cluster Association (BALM) are a group of businesses based near Brechfa Forest and Llanllwni Mountain who work together on projects.

We were founded in 2008  with support from the Cambrian Mountain Initiative as it is Welsh Government policy to encourage tourism businesses which all depend on a common attraction,  landscape,   or region to form a tourism cluster group.

Tourism is not just about people staying in B&B’s  holiday cottages,  hotels,  camping,  staying in caravans or glamping,  #every time someone visits an area for recreation,   whether that’s taking a dog for a walk,   or strolling around the local shopping centre it officially counts as a tourist trip.

Marketing for tourism businesses is not about selling their accommodation.   Its very rare for people to choose a B&B or holiday cottage and then research what there is to do in the area.   The visitor economy is about selling accommodation near whatever facility,  activity,  tourist attraction  the visitor has chosen to experience. Sustainable tourism is not limited to considering modes of transport,   it is also about developing a tourism industry that benefits all of the community both economically and with  retaining and improved facilities for the local community.    That is why Welsh Government encourages the development of tourism cluster groups through which businesses benefiting from the visitor economy work with the community to maximise the benefits and minimise the negatives of the tourism industry.   –

Examples are sustainable tourism projects could include.

Providing information so that visitors know the location of public toilets.

Designing circular routes that link villages with pubs and local shops to bring additional trade which keeps “essential”  services viable for the benefit of the local community.

Promoting local craft fairs and food markets to visitors.

Running projects to build links between local businesses so that every pound spent by tourists benefits as many local businesses as possible as well as making it a more enjoyable experience for a visitor.   For example,  village pubs and hotels preparing meals using local produce  rather than mass produced pre-prepared meals from wholesalers, increases the amount of local employment opportunities for the same number of meals sold.

Our aims include :-

Raising awareness of the heritage and the attractiveness of the landscape in the Brechfa Forest and Llanllwni Mountain area.

Supporting the recreational use of Brechfa Forest and Llanllwni Mountain in a manner which benefits the whole community while taking steps to minimise the negative impact on the local community.

Working with local organisations representing all the user groups,   walkers,  equestrians and cyclists to develop facilities for each activity without disadvantaging other users or the local community.

Working with the graziers of the common land,  and the managers of the publicly owned forestry as well as conservation groups on projects.

Applying for grant funding for projects to achieve our aims.