A new gateway to Snowdonia

Until now, the visibility of the Trust in Snowdonia has been limited to our vehicles, staff at work and our signs – but this year that is about to change with the recent acquisition of the beautiful Bwthyn Ogwen.

Ogwen Cottage, Snowdonia ©National Trust

Ogwen Cottage, Snowdonia
©National Trust

The Carneddau and Glyderau mountains of Snowdonia, the largest expanse of wilderness in England and Wales, have been in the care of the Trust since 1951. Bwthyn Ogwen has been used as an outdoor activity centre for a number of years and we hope to continue this tradition. Our plan is to use the buildings to encourage thousands of people to get outdoors and closer to nature.

The cottage, situated on the A5, has been a starting point for many popular walking and climbing routes. From this spring it is set to become the new base for our Carneddau and Glyderau ranger team, too. So, if you’re in the area, pop in for a chat to learn more about how you can make the most of your visit to Snowdonia.

Is this the slowest Porsche in Wales?

The name Porsche is usually associated with nippy little sports cars and rarely with agricultural machinery, until the Urdd Eisteddfod came to Snowdonia over half term.

The fully restored Porsche Junior on display at the Urdd Eisteddfor at Bala © National Trust/Tristan Edwards

The fully restored Porsche Junior on display at the Urdd Eisteddfod at Bala
© National Trust/Tristan Edwards

The Trust in Wales does its best to appear at large community events such as the Urdd Eisteddfod at Y Bala to showcase some of our conservation work and give members of the public an opportunity to ask questions about our activities.

The Snowdonia and Llŷn team were fielding a “50 Things To Do Before You’re 11¾” stand which also included a first viewing of our Porsche Junior tractor, fresh from renovation, after years in storage at our farm at Egryn, near Barmouth, to raise the funding necessary for its completion.

 

Special delivery: One new footpath – in kit form!

When Caryl Mair Hughes moved onto Llyndy Isaf in Snowdonia she noticed: “One of the first jobs that needed to be done was arranging to repair the southern boundary fence, which is 4km long.”  It was easier said than done!

Helicopter drops building supplies high in Snowdonia Credit: National Trust/Lowri Roberts

Helicopter drops building supplies high in Snowdonia
Credit: National Trust/Lowri Roberts

Llyndy Isaf is an upland farm owned by us and managed by Caryl, our first ‘farm scholar’.  She won a Wales Young Farmers’ Club competition for the opportunity last year and has made a terrific impact in her first few months.

Work had already started on the zig-zag path and boundary fence on the farm, but much more needed to be done.  No lorry could negotiate the rough terrain so, despite heavy weather, the Snowdonia ranger team knew the only way to deliver the heavy building materials was by helicopter.

It took a tremendous team effort from rangers on the ground to guide the unorthodox delivery of wooden fence posts and stone… but they did it before the ‘serious’ winter weather set in.  So, now, the conservation work in some of the most beautiful uplands that we care for can continue – come rain or shine.

New scholar moves in to Snowdonia farm

Our first Llyndy Isaf scholar has recently moved to the farm that will be her home until next September. In a unique arrangement with Wales Young Farmers Club, we will provide an annual scholarship for a young farmer to gain valuable conservation-farming experience.

Caryl and sheepdog Mist take a break to enjoy the view at Llyndy Isaf.

Caryl and sheepdog Mist take a break to enjoy the view at Llyndy Isaf.
© National Trust / Keith Morris

Caryl Hughes, from Dyffryn Ceiriog near Llangollen, beat stiff competition from fellow Wales-YFC members to win the opportunity to farm and care for the extraordinary 614-acre upland farm in Snowdonia for 12 months.

Since arriving last month, she’s wasted no time getting to grips with caring for the landscape and habitats whilst preparing to take on a herd of breeding Welsh black cows and a flock of hardy Welsh mountain ewes.

We caught up with Caryl recently for an exclusive update, and here’s what she said:

“One of my main priorities was to start a new flock of Welsh mountain ewes.  I didn’t have to look far for them, because I knew that my colleague, neighbour and mentor, Arwyn Owen, Farm Manager at nearby Hafod y Llan farm had some to sell. I figured that if they can survive on the slopes of Snowdon, they should be ok for Llyndy Isaf, so I’ve purchased 100 for the farm, which will be the beginnings of our new flock.

“Managing any farm starts with the knowing your soil. So I’ve been taking soil samples so that we can decide how best to keep fertility in the better fields. I’ve also been doing habitat surveys with Helen, our Nature Conservation Advisor. It’s been fascinating to learn about the rich diversity of species on the farm and what sort of grazing I need to apply to enhance the wildlife of the farm”.

“This truly is a unique spot, and I’m really looking forward to learning how to produce a healthy environment as well as quality livestock to sell.”

The power of Snowdonia

An exciting new project is shining a spotlight on a mysterious period in Snowdonia’s past, when the mountains of Eryri formed the power base of a dynasty that produced some of Wales’ greatest native rulers.

The power and the glory of Snowdonia. Llywelyn the Great’s stronghold at Dinas Emrys emerges from the mist beyond Beddgelert. © National Trust.

The power and the glory of Snowdonia. Llywelyn the Great’s stronghold at Dinas Emrys emerges from the mist beyond Beddgelert. © National Trust.

The craggy summit of Dinas Emrys, which stands at the entrance to Snowdonia’s beautiful Nantgwynant valley is known all over Wales as the mythological birthplace of the red dragon.  But few people know that the hill was also the site of a small castle linked to Llywelyn the Great.

As one of the partners in the European Union / Welsh Government funded Princes of Gwynedd project, we are enhancing access to the landscape of the princes in this beautiful part of Snowdonia through a range of activities.

These include the recruitment and training of volunteer guides to lead visitors to Dinas Emrys on a planned programme of guided walks, and the development of information displays, both at the Tourist Information Centre at Beddgelert and the start point for the walks at nearby Craflwyn.

The project also includes the creation of a new easy-access viewpoint for Dinas Emrys and a comprehensive programme of path repair and improvement to the site itself.

For more information about the project click here

The Princes of Gwynedd project is led by Conwy County Borough Council in partnership with Gwynedd Council, Snowdonia National Park Authority and the National Trust, as part of Cadw’s £19m Heritage Tourism Project which is largely funded by the Welsh Government and from EU Convergence Funds.

The Great Welsh Walk

Discover great Welsh walks with us.

Enjoy special places in Wales this autumn with our Great Welsh Walk – part of the Great British Walk 2013.

There are plenty of organised walks as well as dozens of walks to download on our useful map.

Why not add your own great walk and share your walking photos with #GBwalk

So let’s get outdoors this autumn and discover special places on foot.

The caption would be.  Walking to the Gribin, Solva Harbour, Pembrokeshire.  One of Wales’ great walks. Photo: ©National Trust Images / Leo Mason.

Walking to the Gribin, Solva Harbour, Pembrokeshire. One of Wales’ great walks. Photo: ©National Trust Images / Leo Mason.

Houses and gardens are great too

Many of our historic houses and gardens are the ideal place to get your family outdoors and closer to nature.  Why not take a break from the hills and coast to join one of our outdoor activities at one of our famous Welsh properties.

Children enjoying climbing the trees in the garden at Erddig.

Children enjoying climbing the trees in the garden at Erddig.

Here’s a selection to whet your appetite:

Powis Castle will be providing plenty of summer holiday family entertainment, including an exciting garden trail with many activities from  ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 & ¾’ . Special ‘50 things’ events include ‘build and fly your own kite’ on 6th and 20th August and pond dipping and bug hunting on 10 and 11 August.

Bodnant Garden is inviting kids to Grow Wild this summer with an action-packed seven weeks of holiday fun. There will be nature trails, pond dipping, a tree climbing weekend and the chance to be the first to explore a private part of the garden before it opens next year.

Children pond dipping at Bodnant Garden

Pond dipping at Bodnant Garden

Dinefwr Park & Castle is running exciting Mini-Ranger Academy events where children can have fun den-building, pond-dipping, dam-building and creating wild art amongst many other activities

Egryn, Snowdonia has its Heritage Open Day on 14 September, with lots of activities that will appeal to the whole family, including a vintage tractor display, local crafts and archaeology activities.