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Storm Arwen topples 50 trees at Bodnant Garden leaving a trail of devastation

November 30, 2021


One of Britain’s most spectacular gardens faces years of remedial work after Storm Arwen left a trail of devastation.

More than 50 trees were blown down at Bodnant Garden in the Conwy Valley and groundstaff are still assessing the extent of the damage.

Among the casualties was a 140-year-old Coast Redwood, a finalist in the Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year competition in 2017.

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Part of the National Trust attraction remains open but sections have been closed to the public where storm force 10 winds ripped through the valley.

On its Facebook page, Bodnant said the garden had been “hard hit” and parts of the Dell and Furnace hillside had suffered “extensive damage”.

It said: “Our garden team is still assessing the losses but so far we’ve counted more than 50 trees, many pines and also magnolias, rhododendrons and the 140-year-old Coast Redwood near the Old Mill, a Wales Champion Tree.”

Since Saturday, the team has been removing storm debris from the garden.

The wooded Furnace hillside, which only opened in 2017, is likely to remain inaccessible for several months as clearance work continues.

Repairing the damage is likely to be costly but the biggest headache will be replacing the rare species for which Bodnant was renowned.

The National Trust may seek to collaborate in order to propagate new plants and trees.

More than 50 trees were toppled and staff now face months of clear-ups and remedial work
More than 50 trees were toppled and staff now face months of clear-ups and remedial work

On Facebook, Bodnant said: “Our team is very upset by the scale of the damage and we know many of you will be too.

“But we’re on the case. The clear-up has already begun.”

Some storm damage is almost inevitable at an attraction based around a steep-sided valley through which wind and floodwater can funnel.

In 2017 Bodnant brought in a team of hydrology experts following storms in 2015 and 2012 which washed away plants and deposited tons of silt and gravel on flowerbeds.

The 2015 storm alone landed the Trust with a £15,000 repair bill.

The iconic lonely tree at Llyn Padarn, Llanberis, looking towards Snowdonia

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Reaction on Facebook to the latest disaster has been one of horror, which some 360 people commiserating with Bodnant’s misfortunes, some from as far afield as Australia.

“It’s so sad when a venerable tree like the sequoia is lost,” said one person.

“So much of the garden’s long history gone in seconds.”

Another added: “Must be heartbreaking for everyone involved.”

However several people noted how, following previous storms, other historic gardens have been able to bounce back after being battered by the weather.

One person said: “I remember the devastation at Kew, and at Leith Hill Place, both famous places for their spectacular and venerable trees, after the October 1987 storm. It was heartbreaking.

“It was remarkable, though, how soon the landscape regenerated. Yes, big feature trees are a terrible loss, but the landscape heals.”

Bodnant is famed for its historic tree collection, which includes around 40 UK Champion Trees and 130 Welsh Champion Trees.

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