A team of water experts is helping safeguard three of Wales’s greatest gardens from flood damage.
Waterco, which has an office in Chester, is working with the National Trust on plans to protect Bodnant Garden in the Conwy Valley, Dyffryn Gardens in the Vale of Glamorgan and Tredegar House, near Newport.
The three properties are among the National’s Trust’s biggest visitor attractions in Wales and attract more than 400,000 visitors each year.
Waterco, with headquarters in Ruthin, has already prepared plans for Dyffryn Gardens and Tredegar House. Work work has started not only to make them as flood-proof as possible, but also to manage their water supplies efficiently and environmentally sustainably.
Now it has also come up with a strategy for Bodnant Garden, which attracts more than 230,000 visitors a year to view its spectacular laburnum arch, magnificent specimen trees, flowerbeds and the pools, weirs and waterfalls of the River Hiraethlyn and other man-made and natural water features.
But the Hiraethlyn can also cause damage too. In December 2015 a major flood swept away thousands of plants, smashed bridges and paths and deposited hundreds of tons of silt and gravel on flowerbeds.
And before that, winter floods in 2012 had affected the newly renovated Far End of the Garden.
The 2015 storm cost the trust £15,000 and it took two months’ work to put right ahead of last spring’s opening.
The trust also has concerns over summer droughts which can pose problems for the magnificent 80-acre Victorian gardens. But now Waterco, who also has a base in Manchester, is working closely with the National Trust to develop a plan to alleviate catastrophic flooding and drought.
The Waterco team is led by associate director Raffaela Whitehead and includes water management specialist Keith Stoops, principal civil engineer Mike Redding and hydraulic modeller Bethan Lloyd Jones.
Dyffryn, Tredegar House and Bodnant are the first National Trust properties in the UK to have new water management plans.
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