A TEAM of water experts is helping safeguard three of Wales’ greatest gardens from flood damage.
Denbighshire-based Waterco is working with the National Trust on plans to protect the iconic properties at Bodnant Garden, in the Conwy Valley; Dyffryn Gardens, in the Vale of Glamorgan; and Tredegar House, near Newport.
The three properties are among the trust’s biggest visitor attractions in Wales and attract over 400,000 visitors each year.
Waterco, whose headquarters is in Ruthin, has already prepared plans for Dyffryn Gardens and Tredegar House, and 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, they have also come up with a strategy for Bodnant Garden, which attracts over 230,000 visitors a year to view its spectacular laburnum arch, magnificent specimen trees, flower beds and the pools, weirs and waterfalls of the River Hiraethlyn, as well as other man-made and natural water features.
But, the Hiraethlyn can also cause damage too and 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.
Before that, winter floods in 2012 affected the newly renovated far end of the garden.
The 2015 storm cost the National Trust £15,000, a significant amount of money and it took two months of 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, which also has bases in Chester and 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.
Mr Redding said: “We are looking to future-proof the gardens as much as possible against damaging floods and also to look at their water use generally. We have advised on reinforcing bridges and pathways to make them more resilient and we can also work with other local landowners upstream to find ways to slow the flow of run-off water into the river at times of heavy rainfall.”
For more on Waterco, go to www.waterco.co.uk