Botanic Garden nominated for glittering global prize

The Regency Restoration project, which includes two new lakes, bridges, dams, cascades, a waterfall and an extensive network of paths all set in 300 acres of wooded parkland, has been short-listed in the 2021 Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) People’s Choice Award.

The largest project of its kind in Wales has been five years in the making and cost £7.3 million, winning big backing from the National Lottery Heritage Lottery Fund. It is one of six projects from around the world on the ICE award shortlist.

Project officer, Angharad Phillips said: “The restored landscape is already proving a big draw and is a huge hit with our visitors. We’ve received some fantastic comments as well as record numbers of people through the gate this summer.

“We urge all these new-found fans along with all our old friends to vote for us in these prestigious awards.”

Angharad explained that the success is down to a huge and co-ordinated effort involving the local community, local historians, Botanic Garden staff and volunteers, engineers, architects, archaeologists as well as environmental contractors to sympathetically restore the landscape which sits in the Garden’s Waun Las National Nature Reserve.

Damian McGettrick, who owns the main contractor, WM Longreach, said: “We are honoured to be put forward for this award and extremely proud to have been part of this passionate and dedicated team.”

You can now vote for the ‘Regency Restoration Project’ as your favourite civil engineering project HERE

For more information about the ICE awards and the Botanic Garden’s People’s Choice Award entry, go to National Botanic Garden of Wales Regency Restoration | Institution of Civil Engineers (ice.org.uk)

For more information about the Botanic Garden, please visit our website


Regency Restoration Project funders: National Lottery Heritage Fund, Richard Broyd Trust, The Waterloo Foundation, Carmarthenshire County Council, Welsh Government, Esmée Fairbairn FoundationThe Pilgrim Trust, Country Houses Foundation, Patsy Wood Trust,  The Monument Trust and the Garfield Weston Foundation.

Contractor:

WM Longreacha family-owned, specialist environmental contracting company, taking on challenging projects UK-wide on sensitive, historic, or difficult access sites, with expertise to offer innovative design solutions in and around water.  They have more than 50 years of civil engineering experience and have worked with a range of charitable, environmental organisations and councils including National Trust, English Heritage, Wildlife Trust, and the Environment Agency.

Design Team:

Dyfed Archaeological Trust were on-site throughout construction undertaking excavations of key historical features. They also carefully observed every stage of work. They excavated the original sluice gate which controlled the flow of water at Llyn Mawr. This wood was dated by Swansea University to have been felled the wood in the spring of 1789, the year William Paxton bought the estate.

The 300-acre restoration site is in a sensitive area of natural heritage containing a range of creatures including dormice, badgers and bats. Strict licencing constraints relating to these creatures had to be adhered to and ecologists continue to monitor the site. Translocation of rare lichen, plants have also taken place. Carmarthenshire-based Pryce Consultants have provided valuable consultancy from the outset.

Simon Bonvoisin from Nicholas Pearson Partnership LLP was the lead consultant overseeing every aspect of the designed landscape.  They have extensive experience in the restoration of historic landscapes providing specialist advice on historic landscapes, landscape management and landscape design to a wide range of clients across the UK including private estates, developers, local authorities, charitable trusts, Universities, Duchy of Cornwall and the National Trust.

Lead consultant Tom Hill and Tom Martin, from Mann Williams, have worked on the engineered elements of the features such as the six new bridges and the design of the dams and spillways. Experts both in conservation and new-build engineering projects and practice with the most CARE registered engineers in the UK.  They’re leading practitioners of digital engineering, with some of the most cutting edge and exciting technology available today.

Reservoir Engineers: Jonathan Hinks and Craig Goff from HR Wallingford have designed the reservoirs and dams at Llyn Mawr and Llyn Felin Gât. Jonathan has 40 years’ experience with dams, hydropower, flood control and water supply.  Craig is Technical Director and lead of the Dams and Reservoirs team and Emerging Technologies sector. They continue to monitor the reservoirs.

Architect: Jonathan Saunders from Caroe & Partners designed all six bridges. Inspiration was taken from some of the Hornor paintings. Caroe & Partners aim to provide an original and distinctive approach to new work combined with a scholarly approach to the care of historic buildings and sensitive sites.

Subcontractors:

Stone Mason – Selwyn Jones has worked as a stonemason for more than 20 years and has collaborated with Cadw and The National Trust. He has worked on a range of projects from heritage sites, vernacular buildings, to obelisks and cathedrals. Selwyn, from Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, is passionate about traditional skills and uses traditional methods and locally sourced materials to help restore buildings to their former glory.

Blacksmith – Toby Petersen handcrafted the railings on one of the steel bridges. Toby, based in St Clears, Carmarthenshire, is a specialist blacksmith who also undertakes metalwork conservation.

Blacksmith – William Holland, from Phoenix Forge in Carmarthen, created the blacksmith railings at one of the steel bridges and on the rustic bridge at Llyn Felin Gât. William is passionate about the continuity of the craft and many of the skills are unchanged and passed down through the generations.

Site Clearance – Lampeter Trees undertook the clearance of the restoration site before the main contractors began their work. They are experts in working in areas of sensitive wildlife and ecology. They achieved this by thoroughly understanding our requirements, relevant regulatory and legislative requirements, and by ensuring that the highest possible levels of quality awareness were adhered to. Lampeter Trees have also undertaken surveys of our veteran trees and trees affected by ash dieback.