Treborth Botanic Garden, near Bangor is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2010. Now, during this special year, some of the garden’s hidden treasures have been revealed thanks to a grant from Forestry Commission Wales.
The garden, which occupies an enviable position overlooking the Menai Strait, is owned by Bangor University which bought the 40 acres of woodland and pasture in 1960.
Due to the variety of soil types and habitats that support native plants and animals, it offers a valuable teaching resource and is well used by university students and school groups.
Forestry Commission Wales, together with the Countryside Council for Wales, has helped to fund the restoration of the garden’s ancient woodlands.
The restoration work has included the removal of shrub species that were introduced in the 1800s, such as rhododendron and cherry laurel, to allow native plants, which are an important part of an ancient wood like the one at Treborth, to re-colonise the area.
Following the removal of these non-native shrubs, fine pathways and a lime avenue can be seen once again and, thanks to clearance work around the waterfall in the eastern area of the wood, magnificent views across the Menai Strait have been opened up.
Joseph Paxton, designer of Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition in 1851, first landscaped the area in the 1850s. However the site was abandoned shortly afterwards, with the pleasure grounds and the hotel only partially finished, and the land reverted to pasture and woodland.
Over the years, the grounds and woodlands had become overgrown with ornamental non-native shrubs planted by the Victorians and the remains of Paxton’s design had become smothered while the magnificent views across the Menai Strait became hidden.
Curator of Treborth Botanic Garden Nigel Brown said, "I would like to thank Forestry Commission Wales and the Countryside Council for Wales for helping improve the woodlands at Treborth in such a significant way.
"As 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity, eliminating ecologically inappropriate species and instigating management practices to encourage species diversity are surely the best contributions anyone can make."
The historic woodlands are open daily to the public, free of charge. Guided tours are available on open days and special events are organised by the Friends of Treborth Botanic Garden who play a vital role in managing the 40 acre site. For more information, see www.treborthbotanicgarden.org
Grants to create new areas of woodland in Wales will be launched by Forestry Commission Wales in autumn 2010. For more details on the grant scheme, please contact 0300 068 0300 or see www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-5z8jcr.
Picture caption: View across the Menai Strait from Treborth Botanic Garden's woodlands
NOTES TO EDITORS
History of Treborth Botanic Garden
Ninety acres between the suspension bridge and the proposed tubular bridge were bought by the Chester and Holyhead Railway company in the 1840s.
The famous Victorian designer of Crystal Palace, Joseph Paxton was called in to draw up landscaped plans for Britannia Park which would include its own railway station, a grand hotel, glass walkway, fernery, waterfall, 25 acres of pleasure gardens, a lime tree avenue and some elegant detached villas.
However, in 1851, financial difficulties meant that building work on the hotel was stopped and Britannia Park railway station was abandoned. The land reverted to pasture and woodland.
In 1867, the land was bought by Richard Davies MP and in the 1960s Bangor University bought 40 acres of woodland and pasture.
For more information, see www.treborthbotanicgarden.org.
Forestry Commission Wales
About 14% of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Assembly Government.
Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Assembly Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.
Forestry Commission Wales provides advice on forestry policy to the Minister responsible for forestry. It provides grant aid to the private sector and regulates forestry by issuing felling licences.
Forestry Commission Wales is also part of Forestry Commission GB and contributes to the international forestry agenda.
More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on www.forestry.gov.uk/wales
Press office contact: Mary Galliers, email@example.com, 0300 068 0057.