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ITV documentary to tell remarkable story of Penscynor Wildlife Park

27 Oct 2023 2 minute read
Jonathan Hill – Image: ITV

To mark 25 years since Penscynor Wildlife Park closed to the public, a special ITV documentary will tell the remarkable story of the zoo’s rise and fall.

The programme sees ITV Cymru Wales at Six Presenter Jonathan Hill visiting the remains of the old Penscynor Wildlife Park – a place that holds a lot of personal childhood memories for him.

Jonathan Hill as a child. Image: ITV

Long before Jonathan Hill became a familiar face to television viewers, he spent his weekends and summer holidays surrounded by exotic creatures squawking and flapping in the hillsides of the Neath Valley.

Penscynor Wildlife Park was a mini paradise of exotic animals and became Wales’ most popular tourist attraction during the 1970s and 80s.

the park’s ruins – Image: ITV.

The Park was forced to close in 1998 due to rising costs and falling visitor numbers, but an entire generation of children were inspired and enthralled by the weird and wonderful delights of Penscynor.


ITV Cymru Wales presenter Jonathan Hill said: “Unlike most zoos at the time, Penscynor gave visitors the chance to get up close and personal with the countless creatures in its collection.

“The birds were free-flying, the chimpanzees interacted with the public and the penguins waddled merrily through the Park. It would never happen now but the memories will stay with me forever.”

A chimp at the park – Image: ITV.

Producer Carwyn Jones said: “Featuring a wealth of previously unseen film footage and exclusive new interviews, Penscynor: Life on the Wild Side is the definitive documentary on Wales’ wildest attraction.”

Penscynor: Life on the Wild Side will be broadcast on Sunday 5th November at 7:30pm on ITV Cymru Wales.

It will also be available to view online at after broadcast.

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