Restoration of a Water Wonderland

One of Thomas Hornor’s paintings, which will help guide the Regency waterpark’s restoration.

One of Britain’s finest Regency waterparks is to be restored as part of the biggest development in the history of the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

The innovative system, which saw water flowing around the estate linked by a network of dams, sluices, bridges and cascades was an impressive aspect of the garden, designed by Capability Brown protegé Samuel Lapidge.

By the mid-19th century it had entered a slow decline, with the necklace of lakes finally being drained in 1934. Empty and silted-up lakes still remained, however, with overgrown paths running alongside and their rebirth will be achieved with reference to a series of historic paintings by Thomas Hornor.

The reconstruction of the dams, cascades, weirs and falls is set to be complete by March 2020, along with extensive landscaping and replanting.
The garden offers special rates of entry for groups of 10 people and even lower rates are available this year during April and May.

For further information please call 01558 667149

Peak Performer

The restored Loco No5 pushes visitors towards the peak of Snowdon.

Snowdon Mountain Railway in north Wales has marked its 2017 opening with the re-introduction of a steam engine that hasn’t run on its tracks for the best part of two decades.

First put into service in 1896, Loco No5 was mothballed in 2000, but the overhauled locomotive has now been fully restored. Initially, services will travel only as far as Clogwyn station, 779m above sea level with the full journey up to the top station and Hafod Eryri Summit Visitor Centre at 1085 metres recommencing in May.

This year also sees the addition of a weather feed direct from Snowdon’s peak on the railway’s new website, along with a webcam showing live views of
the summit. Special group rates can be arranged in advance. To visit the new website, log on to www.snowdonrailway.co.uk

For further information telephone 01286 873498

Evolution in the Gardens of Eden

A visitor views The Eden Project’s rainforest canopy from the new Cloud Bridge.

Visitors to Cornwall’s Eden Project now have the opportunity to trek across an aerial rope bridge, shelter from tropical rain and travel through clouds thanks to a unique, newly opened walkway.

The Weather Maker is the latest phase of the Rainforest Canopy Walkway. It allows people to explore the world’s largest indoor rainforest from the treetops via a Canopy Rope Bridge stretching 23 metres between two of the tallest trees in the 50 metre-high Biome and a fully-accessible Cloud Bridge, where visitors can travel through swirling rainforest clouds. Meanwhile, the Mediterranean Biome has a new area devoted to some of Australia’s extraordinary flora.

The new ‘garden within a garden’ will have three sections – one telling the story of the role of fire in maintaining habitat, another showcasing plants such as wax flowers, everlastings and kangaroo paws and a third section representing the diversity of flora in Australia’s most impoverished soil. Eden will also open a new 109-bedroom hotel on site in April 2018. Special rates of entry are available at The Eden Project for groups of 15 or more people.

For further information please call 01726 811972.