Lahn Hinchliffe of Quarry Pottery explains how Snowdonia’s dark night skies inspired a new range of ceramics that’s just out of this world.
I was born in Dolgellau and grew up in Tywyn, before leaving to go off to university. My family have run the pottery since 1982, so I grew up in the ceramics world. I went to a lot of potters camps, which I thought were very boring at the time, but I was probably subconsciously picking up stuff about pottery from a very early age.
The idea for this new range of pottery that we’re calling In the Night Sky came from a lifelong interest in astronomy. Growing up in such a remote and unspoilt place you could look up into the sky at night and see the Milky Way. The stars were so bright. It was something that always stuck with me. When I moved away to Brighton, I couldn’t see the stars at night, so it made me realise how special Snowdonia was. When I brought my partner here for the first time, she had never seen a sky like it. It really made me realise that I’d grown up in a very special place. Continue reading →
Take a discounted ride on Snowdon Mountain Railway
Jana Jones of Attractions of Snowdonia explains why the new Snowdonia Pass is a must-have for visitors and locals alike.
The Snowdonia Pass is a discount card that’s available to both visitors and residents. It costs just £5 and it gives you money off at a variety of local businesses. So far we’ve got 47 organisations signed up, covering everything from attractions and activities to restaurants, shops and accommodation providers.
Every business signed up offers a minimum of a 10 percent discount all year round, but some of the offers are even more generous. For example, there’s a 20 percent discount for Snowdon Mountain Railway, a 15 percent discount at Menai Bikes. Another is a reduction of £5 per night for accommodation at the Royal Sportsman Hotel in Porthmadog. Customers can go onto the Snowdonia Pass website to see all the participating business and find out what deals they are offering. Continue reading →
Dyfi Distillery is the first commercial distillery in Mid Wales and the latest addition to Corris Craft Centre. Co-founder Danny Cameron explains why this part of the world has all the right ingredients for truly great gin.
My brother Pete has lived in the Dyfi area for 35 years. He forages, keeps bees and has a small farm here. I’ve spent 30 years in the drinks industry. We were having a chat a few years ago and we ended up discussing Dyfi as the perfect place to set up a craft distillery where we could make amazing gin using local spring water and foraged ingredients. It started off as a fantasy, but we eventually realised that it was something that we should actually do.
There’s a combination of factors as to why the Dyfi area is ideal. The diversity of the botanicals here is genuinely astonishing. There are very few places in Europe that have this level of diversity, which is why the place is recognised as a UNESCO World Biosphere. There’s also the water. It’s of such high quality that you couldn’t ask for better for distilling. Combined with my brother’s local knowledge, it just means that this is the perfect place to be. Continue reading →
Gillian Brownson on bringing The Mabinogion to life at GreenWood Forest Park.
I’m a performer with a special interest in using Theatre practice in the Community. Being from Wales, I have a real passion or Welsh literature so, at GreenWood, I’m trying to bring Welsh mythology to young children and their families and tapping into the child’s literacy development along the way.
On my last visit to GreenWood, I was performing the Branwen story from The Mabinogion. It’s not just storytelling. I don’t sit down and talk while the children listen. I tell the story with the children, by inviting them into the performance area and having them take part. We use props and instruments, we make thunderstorms and pretend to be characters from the story. At the end, they’ve not just had a passive listening role, but been very much active participants. Continue reading →
Frankie Hobro, director and owner of Anglesey Sea Zoo, lifts the lid on the attraction’s newest arrivals.
Anglesey Sea Zoo is one the largest aquariums in Wales. We are dedicated exclusively to British species, and we draw our seawater entirely and directly from the Menai Strait. By housing only native species, we maintain as low an environmental footprint as possible, with a focus on sustainability, recycling and supporting environmental issues with a core of research, conservation and education. We aim to inspire both British visitors and those from further afield by bringing the, face to face with the incredible, diverse and exciting species which are found in the seas around the UK.
We recently unveiled three new exhibits at a fantastic launch event attended by naturalist and The One Show regular Mike Dilger. Funded by the European Fisheries Fund and the Welsh Government, each exhibit showcases a very different British species of sea creature. Continue reading →
Fran Llywellyn on redesigning the Bath, one of Bodnant Garden’s oldest features.
The Bath is an oval pool dating back to Victorian period and lies just below the Front Lawn of Bodnant Hall, tucked away behind high sheltering walls and hedges. Gardeners are transforming ageing, shrubby planting into a miniature exotic paradise, filled with lush foliage and brightly coloured flowers which can take advantage of the sheltered microclimate. It’s the finale of two years of renovation in the area, following devastating winter storms of 2013.
The Bath was created by Henry Pochin, who founded Bodnant Garden as we know it when he bought the estate in 1874. Pochin laid out the upper East Garden in formal Victorian style, with lawns intersected by paths, stone steps and balustrades and a terrace linking the house to the garden. Continue reading →
Tony Russell tells us about the latest developments in the restoration of Plas Tan-y-Bwlch’s historic gardens.
I’m the garden consultant working with the National Park and Plas Tan-y-Bwlch, I’ve been involved with the property since the storm in 2014, which basically demolished a third of the Plas garden. Wind speeds of over 100 miles per hour came straight up the valley and knocked trees down like dominoes. I did an assessment of the damage and what needed to be done to restore the garden and we’re now involved in a five-year project to bring it back to its former glory. Continue reading →
Helen, Lauren, Jo and Gill of We Love Llŷn give us the lowdown on a new venture inspired by a spectacular part of Wales.
Here at We Love Llŷn we think there’s a lot to love about the beautiful corner of North Wales which we call home; from pretty coastal villages to open countryside, to the heights of Mynydd Rhiw and Garn Fadryn and the many, many miles of glorious beaches, not to mention the stunning beauty of neighbouring Snowdonia. What’s not to like? Continue reading →
John Skilletter of Taran Eco Designs at Corris Craft Centre explains how Snowdonia’s enviroment inspires everything he makes.
All the wood we work with comes from within just a few miles of the shop. We’re really lucky to be so rich in woodland and natural resources. I scavenge driftwood from the beach, I gather deadwood from the forests. Farmers don’t throw anything away, so they’re a really good resource for me. Old fenceposts are made from split oak and we get those from the farmers when the fences fall down. They’ve been outside for up to 100 years already which gives them a unique weathered look. The local farmers are really supportive. Because they don’t like things to go to waste, they’ll see the kind of stuff we’re making and they’ll just turn up with a trailer and drop wood off. They just want it to be used properly. Continue reading →
For Phil Jones, family connections mean working as an underground tour guide at Llechwedd Slate Caverns is much more than just a job.
All the men on my father’s side of the family worked in the quarries and the mines. My father and grandfather were some of the last to be working underground, right up until the late 1970s. Having those kinds of connections allows me to talk about the mine from the heart and from personal experience, rather than just from the script.
Like me, a lot people who come here have a family connection, either their father or grandfather used to work in the mines so they want to know how things were for them. In another life, I could have been working down here, so it all feels very close to the bone. Sometimes when I tell the stories underground I end up with a lump in my throat.