29 May 2017
20 May 2017
The land for Treborth Botanic Garden was purchased by Bangor University in the 1960s in order to develop a plant collection for its Botany Department. The garden had previously been developed in the 1840s as part of the Chester and Holyhead Railway’s planned tourist destination Britannia Park. This was designed by architect and gardener Sir Joseph Paxton (1803 – 1865) – best known for designing the 1851 Great Exhibition’s Crystal Palace. However, lack of funding led to the project being abandoned.
The botanic garden is host to more than 2,000 native and exotic species and the university maintains six glasshouses on the site. The university provides free access to the grounds to the public throughout the year.
14 May 2017
In 1884 a four-mile-long, single track branch line of the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) from Bangor to Bethesda opened to passengers, linking to the Chester and Holyhead main line just outside Bangor. The route included Dinas Tunnel, a 297-yard-long (272 m), single-bore tunnel approached from the Bangor (northern) end through a sheer-faced rock cutting. On exiting the tunnel at the Bethesda (southern) end, the track crossed the Ogwen river over the Bryn Bella Viaduct. Increasing competition from buses led to the closing of passenger services on the branch line in 1951, with the line finally closing to all traffic in 1963.
In 2016 Gwynedd Council set aside £200,000 and secured an additional £230,000 from the Welsh Government in order to develop the disused tunnel so as to open a new section of the Lon Las Ogwen ‘multi-user’ path. This 11-mile-long cycle route follows parts of the trackbeds of the narrow-gauge Penrhyn Quarry Railway and the standard-gauge LNWR branch line and has until now been interrupted by a mile-long detour around the tunnel by road.
The development work was carried out by Trawsfynydd-based contractor G H James and involved: securing the rockface in the cutting; lighting the tunnel; installing safety railings on the viaduct parapets; and clearing and surfacing the path. The new 800-metre-long section of the route opened in May 2017.
30 April 2017
In April 2017 8 hectares (20 acres) of previously private woodland were opened to the public at Bodnant Garden. The opening of Furnace Meadow and Furnace Hill was the culmination of a 10-year renovation project carried out to counter the effects of decline and disease in the area. The area is named after a blast furnace that operated there in the 18th century. With other previously private sections – Old Park Meadow, Yew Dell and The Far End – having been opened between 2013 and 2015, over 90% of the grounds are now accessible. A final area, Heather Hill, is scheduled to open in 2020.