Posted on 6 March 2013
Gregynog Great Wood. Photo: Alan Hale (2013)
Famed for centuries for its hospitality, Gregynog Hall is an historic house and country estate in the village of Tregynon, near Newtown. Gifted to the University of Wales by Margaret Davies of Llandinam in 1960, it has Grade 1 listed gardens and is surrounded by 750 acres of beautiful grounds and landscapes.
At a special event held today at Gregynog Hall, the estate was confirmed as Wales’ newest National Nature Reserve (NNR).
Designated by the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW), it confirms the estate of Gregynog as one of Wales’ most important sites for ancient parkland and wood-pasture habitats, veteran trees, and nationally important lichens, insects, and other wildlife, supported by these rare habitats.
Speaking about the reasons for the Gregynog Estate for becoming a NNR, Dr Maggie Hill, CCW’s Director for South and East Wales said:
“Gregynog is designated because of the rich mosaic of parkland and ancient woodlands in the grounds of the hall. Gregynog has one of the largest examples of ancient woodland in Wales, aptly named the Great Wood. Some of the oak trees here are over 350 years old.
But it is not just the trees themselves that are important; rare lichens cover the bark of the gnarled ancient oak and ash trees. One of these is the lichen Lecanora sublivescens which can be found on the sunlit tree trunks at Gregynog. This species is scarce on a world scale – and is only known to be here in the UK and in Southern Sweden.”
The NNR declaration also highlights Gregynog as a place where the public can come to enjoy the countryside. There are a number of footpaths through the parkland - walking routes that have recently been mapped, upgraded and way-marked, through a partnership project between Gregynog and CCW, to make it easier for everyone to enjoy walking here.
Speaking about the Estate’s new status, Karen Armstrong, Director at Gregynog, said:
“We are very proud that Gregynog has become a National Nature Reserve. Over the years visitors, and students have come to enjoy our estate - through studying its wildlife and ecological interest or simply relaxing in the peace and tranquility of their surroundings.”
For more information about Gregynog Hall, please visit – www.gregynog.wales.ac.uk
For more information about The Countryside Council for Wales and their work, please visit - www.ccw.gov.uk