A full coach load of members and friends made the drive on a sunny day to Llantrisant, for a guided tour of the Royal Mint. We then progressed to Dyffryn NT, near Cardiff. There we were led through the various parts of the gardens by knowledgeable guides, with a bit of time left for a quick look at the house or a leisurely cup of tea. It was nice to find a cafe willing to stay open beyond its advertised time of closing of 4pm.
Thanks to Tim Sims-Williams for organising the successful day.
PNTA SPRING TOUR to SOUTH YORKSHIRE – Sunday 14th to Thursday 18th MAY
We had our largest Tour group this year with 50 members participating.. There were some rainy spells to cope with but everyone was equipped for the weather and it did not spoil our enjoyment.
Sunday was spent travelling to Harrogate but we took a break at Erddig, a NT property near Wrexham. It was a fine house in 18th and 19th centuries but the Yorke family wealth declined in the 20th century with the family living in ‘genteel poverty’. However there was much to see both ‘below stairs’ and in the family rooms. The walled gardens have been fully restored to their formal 18th century design with lakes, pleached lime trees and, espaliered apples and pears. They were a pleasure on a sunny afternoon. After leaving Erddig we travelled directly to Harrogate and booked in at the very comfortable Crown Hotel.
Monday morning saw us on the way to Ripon Cathedral, an imposing sight from the surrounding countryside. The current Cathedral was built in the 12th and 13th centuries in the austere Early English style. However our tour guides explained that the first stone church on the site was commissioned by St Wilfrid in 672. Its crypt is still accessible in the current building and may well be oldest site of continuous worship (13 ½ centuries) in England.
We then drove to Fountains Abbey and the Studley Royal Water Garden. It is a World Heritage Site now owned by the NT. Building the Cistercian Abbey commenced in 1132 but its magnificent tower was only completed a few years before the Dissolution. Our guides took us through the mediaeval history and explained the working of the Monastery and the different categories of monks involved.
The Water Garden is adjacent to the Abbey. It was created in the early 18th century by the Aslabie family and is a series of lakes running down the valley which are beautiful in their simplicity. The Aslabies bought the Fountains Abbey ruins to add to the view.
Tuesday was spent in Harrogate. In the morning we had conducted walking tours round the town. It was explained that the purpose of Harrogate is to attract visitors and get then to spend money. This started in 1571 when the Tewit Well was recognized to have mineral water properties deemed good for health. Over time 88 wells have been discovered with waters tasting from awful to diabolical, but all doing you good. You can bathe in them as well. The town has many splendid buildings providing leisure activities, shops and hotels. It also has Betty’s Tearoom which has to be experienced by all visitors, including us.
In the afternoon there was a choice of visiting the RHS Harlow Carr Garden or have a bus tour of the local countryside. Both were enjoyed.
Wednesday was spent wholly at Harewood House. Getting through the gate was a test of nerve for our driver, John. Knowing that it was likely to rain, most of us explored the gardens in the morning. The Himalayan Garden was the most eyecatching with many rhododendrons in flower. The House had some splendid State Rooms with valuable pictures, furniture and carpets. There was also a display of costumes from the recent ‘Victoria’ series. Unfortunately the kitchens and other service areas were not open as they were being used for filming.
Thursday was primarily about driving back to Pembrokeshire. However we did visit Shugborough near Stafford. Management of the estate was transferred from Stafford County Council to the National Trust last November and the Trust has a major task on its hands to bring it up to its normal standards of presentation. It would be interesting to go back a few years hence to see how the Trust has managed it..
We arrived back pretty well on schedule. The trip was deemed a great success by all of us. Andrew and Annie were congratulated for their effort and organization.
Report by Jim Price.
At Harewood House we headed for the Himalayan garden first thing…[/caption]
On Tuesday 9th May 2017 about 20 members of PNTA gathered at the Marloes NT car park, on a glorious sunny evening, for a stroll that took us past Runwayskiln (poised for re-development), Marloes Mere, then on to the coast path by the ancient hill fort above Watery Bay.
In the photo above the group looks across to Gateholm.
At the AGM, at Crundale Community Hall, Andrew Weaver (chairman) expressed his gratitude to the committee for for putting together a varied and stimulating programme of events. Thanks to those events being well supported by members, the association has been able to donate £3000 to local National Trust projects. Jonathan Hughes, Manager for the National Trust in Pembrokeshire, explained that the money will be split between Colby, Stackpole and Marloes. At Colby wildflower seed will be purchased to improve the wildlife habitat, around Craig y Borion. On the Stackpole estate subtle signage will tell visitors about the visible remains of a bronze age settlement that peep from the ground near Lady Margaret’s Seat, at Stackpole Warren. At Marloes, the former YHA hostel at Runwayskiln is being redeveloped by the trust. Part of the plan is for a tea room, and the donation will fund information boards highlighting local walks and areas of interest. Jonathan also mentioned that the silting up of the pond above the eight arch bridge, at Stackpole, has has gathered pace, so the nettle has been grasped and a machine is extracting silt which is being left to dry on the bank, before later removal.
The photo above shows Jonathan Hughes, on the left, accepting the cheque from Andrew Weaver.
Unfortunately, Justin Albert, Director of the National Trust in Wales, was unable to make the meeting, at short notice. He hopes to have a chance to meet the association at an event, during the summer.
Mark Underhill, who recently joined the National Trust team in Pembrokeshire, as Countryside Manager for the north of the county, kindly stepped in at short notice to give a talk about his search for the Sociable Lapwing, on a recent sabbatical trip to Turkmenistan.
On Tuesday 14th March 2017, at Crundale Community Hall, Linda Asman, Chairman of Pembroke and Monkton Local History Society, told us of the ancestors of Henry VII. She had travelled in North Wales, in search of early Tudor sites, carrying with her a model of the statue of the king. Linda went on to describe the birth of Henry Tudor, at Pembroke Castle, in 1457, his boyhood spent in South Wales, before exile in Brittany, his return to Dale in 1485 , the march to Bosworth, and his coronation as Henry VII, on the battle field, after Richard III was killed.
Following a local fundraising campaign, and with the support of Pembroke Town Council, a statue of Henry VII will be unveiled on the bridge below the castle, in Pembroke, on June 10th 2017.
The voyage was part of the 50th anniversary celebrations for the Neptune Campaign, which was set up in 1965 to enable the NT to buy unspoilt areas of coastline and protect them for future generations. Richard is the NT Wales Coast Project Manager responsible for working with local Rangers to implement its strategy for the 157 miles of Welsh coast it owns. He and John Whitely, a Glan Faenol Ranger who owned a yacht, sailed around our coast to visit the 133 coastal properties and meet local NT staff.
In addition to protecting the sites, the NT manages them to increase their biodiversity. Those of us who have been on Summer walks led by local NT rangers know that the key to this is the right grazing regime using cattle, ponies and sheep. However the NT increasingly has to look at the impact of rising seas levels on its coastal properties. Locally Abereiddi, Newgale and Freshwater West have, or will need, to be managed as the sea breaks through the existing defences. Planning this requires communication, not just with local staff but also tenant farmers and the wider community.
Richard also talked about the voyage itself and some of the difficult areas of coastline that had to be navigated. After getting grounded on the River Dee, he and John had the excitement of navigating the races between various islands and the adjacent shore. It made him understand that the sea is the master of what happens along the coast.
(Report by Jim Price)
Our speaker presents the prize following a raffle that raised £52 towards the restoration of the grave of Fanny Talbot, at Barmouth. Mrs Talbot donated the first property to the National Trust, in 1895.
On 10th January 2017, at Crundale Community Hall, Julian Cremona spoke to the Pembrokeshire National Trust Association about his trip to Costa Rica, and showed us many fine photos of the wildlife seen there. (The picture above shows Julian on a later trip to Madagascar.)