Join the patter of Paws on the Great Orme

Attention dog walkers! We know you love our summer #WagWednesdays here at Bodnant Garden, and you’ll soon be able to explore another National Trust beauty spot nearby on the Great Orme.

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Parc Farm shepherd Dan Jones 

We’re co-hosting a dog fun day at Parc Farm, part of the famous Llandudno landmark which National Trust bought for the nation in 2015, to celebrate the opening of new public footpaths.

Paws on the Great Orme on Sunday, June 18, features fun dog shows and demonstrations and storytelling for families. It’s also a chance for visitors to look around Parc Farm and learn about the special farming and conservation work being done there by National Trust Wales and our partner organisation Plantlife – as well as the work of Conwy County Borough Council and PONT Cymru on the wider headland.

William Greenwood, property manager for Bodnant Garden and Parc Farm, says:  “Parc Farm is a breathtaking beauty spot and it’s great to be able to share it with walkers, and their dogs. Come and enioy this stunning area and see the work we’re doing to protect it for future generations of people and wildlife.”

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Farmer Dan at work with his dog Tian

Perched on top of the Great Orme headland, the 145-acre Parc Farm enjoys far-reaching views of Snowdonia and the Irish Sea and is home to rare and special wildlife found nowhere else on earth. It is being farmed in traditional way for the National Trust by tenant farmer Dan Jones who is practising close-shepherding to encourage the rare species found there. Dan’s flock of Llyn and Herdwick sheep have been provided by charity Plantlife, which is supporting the conservation work there.

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Dogs on short leads please! Ranger Doug with his buddy at Parc Farm

Our National Trust ranger Doug Don and his volunteers have also been busy creating two new footpaths from the Great Orme summit past Parc Farm. It will be the first time the public have had access to this area since the farm was enclosed in 1875.

Dogs on short leads will be welcomed from June until December.  Over winter and spring they will be closed to reduce disturbance to sheep during lambing and to allow the Great Orme’s protected birds, the Chough, to feed their young.

Doug says: “We’re really pleased to be able to welcome visitors to parts of Parc Farm after such a long time. It will be seasonal, to balance access with the needs of farming and nature conservation, and we’ll be monitoring the effect on wildlife.

“But we hope people will come and enjoy it. All we ask is that walkers stick to the waymarked paths, keep dogs on a short lead, clear up after their pets and follow the signage and notices. All restrictions and closures will be clearly posted.”

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Do not disturb…footpaths will be closed at certain times of year to protect sheep and other wildlife

Paws on the Great Orme takes place at Parc Farm starting at 11am (some parking is available on the summit, from where the two new footpaths begin.) There will be a fun dog show at 12.30 plus dog obedience demonstrations at 11.30am and 2.15pm by Valley dog Training, and sheep dog demonstrations at 12 noon and 2.45pm by shepherd Dan Jones. Visitors can also have a go at mini agility with Valley Dog Training and talk to members of Butterfly Conservation, RSPCA, Guide Dogs Cymru, North Wales Wildlife Trust, Conwy County Borough Council who will be at the event. Refreshments will be provided by Bodnant Garden’s catering team.

To find out more contact our National Trust office on 01492 650460.

Big opening for #BodnantGardenFurnace

Pictures paint a thousand words…so we hope you enjoy this little round-up of our big opening day for Furnace Wood and Meadow, in full, glorious colour: 

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ME =)Many of the images were taken by our volunteer Gethin here, who was duty photographer for the day, and by other staff and volunteers. They capture what a fantastic, frenetic and fun day it was from beginning to end…from the early round of media crews in the morning, the VIP speeches and the chainsaw opening ceremony, through to a sunny afternoon of trails, crafts and daffodil planting, closing with the mass devouring of a truly gigantic cake. I feel a caption competition coming on…

If you have images of the day to share we’d love to see them and include them in our photo gallery – send them to us marked #BodnantGardenFurnace.

For more details about Bodnant Garden call 01492 650460, check out our website nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

Summer of love at Bodnant Garden

Love has been in the air at Bodnant Garden this summer…if not always that bright, yellow thing in the sky! Two couples recently defied damp August weather and got engaged at the garden, taking away some (hopefully) warm memories.

Jade Chapman popped the question to Jenny Martindale in our picturesque Boat House, with a little help from staff and volunteers who secretly arranged to present the couple with a bottle of champagne.

A welly-clad Jade and Jenny

Jade contacted Bodnant Garden to tell us of her plans and to ask for help arranging the surprise proposal, which we were glad to provide.

Property manager William Greenwood and events officer Charlie Stretton prepared the lakeside venue on a very wet Monday morning, putting up ribbons and pictures in the face of wind and driving rain. Volunteer Dave Horsely, who helps with our wedding functions at the garden, also stepped in as the champagne waiter – managing to loiter unsuspiciously around the Boat House until he was given the signal to pop out with the champers.

Charlie said:  “This was one of my more unusual duties as events officer! The Boathouse looked very pretty when we finished decorating it, but we were slightly worried that it would all blow away in the wind and rain.  Thank goodness for double- sided sticky tape. The sun came out just as the happy couple reached the Boathouse, and we were all so pleased when Jenny accepted.”

Jade, from The Wirral, said: “I have been to Bodnant Garden twice, once on a school trip and once with my family. I remembered it being gorgeous surroundings and it felt like I was so far from home I couldn’t believe the little paradise was this close.

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The Boat House and, right, volunteer waiter Dave Horsley

“I love the Boathouse, as when you stand there looking out to the willows and the lake you could be in a Zen garden in Japan. It was so peaceful and beautiful, a perfect setting to propose.

“It couldn’t be more of a perfect day. The morning started off a little damp but once I got down on one knee and Jenny said yes the sun broke through the clouds and we were stood there layered up in wellies in sweltering heat! Thank you Bodnant Gardens for all your support and kind words.”

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Emma Brookfield and Maurice Raymond West, from Southport, seen right, also defied a grey day to get engaged at the garden, sitting on the seat overlooking on the iconic Canal Terrace.

The delighted couple sent us pictures of the occasion. Emma said it would make for special memories and a lovely place to visit together in years to come.

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The Canal Terrace seat, a pretty perfect setting for a proposal

Ah…it seems that whatever the weather you just can’t keep romance down. And the Bodnant Garden magic breaks through any amount of grey skies. Congratulations guys – thanks for sharing your very special days with us and we wish you all the best for the future.

(PS we do weddings too!)

For more details about Bodnant Garden call 01492 650460, check out our website nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden or catch up with us on Facebook  or Twitter.

 

Magical May at Bodnant Garden

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‘Transforming’ is how visitor Rosie Massey describes May at Bodnant, when the rhododendrons burst into life invigorating the garden…and the heart.

I gaze dreamily on the little stream as it gurgles noisily down the Welsh hillside to the valley bottom, dancing and cascading through narrow twisting channels hewn out of the surrounding earth. The water tumbles over rocks and stones covered in spongy moss which seems to be there deliberately to impede the water’s impatient journey.

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It rushes between banks of lush green foliage, surrounded by an abundance of beautiful trees and shrubs. The stream races on in its timeless quest to reach the bottom of the hill, as shafts of sunlight slant and sparkle throughout the tall majestic trees and reflect in the cool, clear, tumbling water.

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Rhododendron ‘Bluebird’

Birdsong, mostly sweet but occasionally loud and shrill, echoes through this beautiful hillside garden, a garden for all seasons, which despite crowds of garden lovers meandering through seems to retain utter peace and silence.

It is mid May when I visit this time and out in the open away from the woodland swathes of beautifully manicured, bright green lawns create a backdrop for the kaleidoscope of the richest colours imaginable. Gentle sunshine bathes the great banks of azaleas and rhododendrons which compete with each other, ablaze in every shade and spreading out like a giant tapestry in all directions.

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Rhododendron citriniflorum

Not just a glorious profusion of colours but also of rich, tantalising scents, the perfume hanging heavily in the warm balmy air of this late spring day; an amalgamation of hundreds of fragrant blooms, no one scent distinct from another but overpowering in its headiness. I want to smell each flower to identify each wonderful, exotic scent, then bottle it up and create one wonderful perfume I can wear.

 I continue all along the woodland path but at the bottom now, on a level with the stream. From here the tall trees create a giant lacy umbrella high above me, blocking out most of the sunlight now, as the leaves sigh and whisper in the still, quiet air, creating a cool and gentle breeze. I wander slowly through this magical, peaceful place; transformed, any worries forgotten.

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Rhododendron ‘Budget Farthing’

I stroll on through the garden, sitting occasionally to rest for a while, enjoying the coolness of the trees or the warmth of the sun. Gazing quietly around me and in no hurry I relish every moment here, until I finally make my way to the spectacular Laburnum Arch; a framework drenched in beautiful, golden yellow Laburnum blossom which hangs and drapes over the frame like a delicate lace curtain as one wanders through its length. This is the finale for me and for which, amongst everything else in this magnificent place, Bodnant Garden is famous.

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The famous Laburnum Arch

Almost time to leave, but first I visit the excellent restaurant to enjoy some welcome and delicious refreshment. A perfect ending to a very special day spent amongst the sighing, whispering, magnificent trees and the glorious kaleidoscope of colours in this area of Outstanding Natural Beauty beside the stunning mountains and coastline of Snowdonia National Park.

By Rosie Massey, Warrington

A big Bodnant Garden thank you to Rosie for sending us this account of her visit last year.