The Welsh town of Monmouth, in the UK, is preparing to receive the Olympic torch as it reaches the town today.
The Secretary of State for Wales, Cheryl Gillan, said, ‘The London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay is Wales’ moment to shine, and a chance to showcase the people and places that make the country great. Over the next five days, the Olympic torch will be carried by around 550 runners along more than 300 streets in Wales and provides a unique opportunity to celebrate the Games as a country.
I congratulate the many deserving people across Wales who have been selected to play their part in the celebrations. I look forward to seeing everybody join together to celebrate their communities, rally behind our athletes, and show the world all the great things that Wales, and the whole of the UK stands for. On arrival of the Olympic torch and the beginning of the Welsh leg of the torch relay, that the event will shine a light on the places, people, values and traditions of Wales.’
Ms. Gillan will be attending a torch relay reception today, at the Shire Hall in Monmouth, arranged by Monmouthshire County Council.
Hundreds of people are expected to line the streets in celebration of the Olympic spirit, as Hazel Cave-Brown-Cave, 44, from Raglan, will carry the torch through the town’s streets. Hazel is an athlete and runs fundraising marathons for Bobath Cymru, and has recently completed treatment for breast cancer. She will share the torch relay with another athlete, Robyn Tyler, 21 from Monmouth.
Commenting on the Olympic torch relay, Hazel said, ‘It is a real honour for me to be carrying the torch and I still find it very hard to believe that I have been chosen from the many people nominated.’
The National Trust should be saluted for protecting one of Wales’ most stunning and renowned pieces of land, by raising one million pounds. ‘Llyn Dinas’ lake and ‘Llyan Isaf’ farm were scheduled to be transformed into a water-sports centre, which would demolish the natural beauty this countryside scene beholds.
The widely admired wildlife spot is the alleged mythical battle ground between the magical red and white dragons. According to the famous fable, the red dragon won the battle, thus it became the country’s beloved national symbol, adorning each of their flags. Llyan Isaf is sprinkled with patriotic history, home to the origin of the Welsh iconic emblem.
The bid to save Llyan Isaf has proven to be the biggest countryside appeal in over a decade, generating donations from over 20,000 people.
Welsh born celebrities such as Matthew Rhys and Catherine Zeta Jones fronted the campaign, contributing generous sums themselves, as they are proud of their homeland and the understated geographical gems buried within. ‘Rhys Evans’, the National Trust’s manager was quoted ‘’I am extremely bowled over by this extraordinary response’.
The farm situated in Snowdonia, sited next to ‘Nant Gwyant Valley’ is regarded as one of the most important environmental stretches of land in Wales, as it remains untouched by intensive farming.
Home to a large community of various wildlife species such as otters and kingfishers, Llyn Isaf epitomises raw natural composition overlooked in everyday life.
The picturesque land looks almost like something out of a fairy-tale. Towering oaks accessorised with copper leaves, huddled emerald mountains, pools of royal blue water, meandering flint walls are all rustic fixtures blanketing the petite brick cottage, enviously positioned in the centre.
One of the world’s remaining story-book beauties remains free of the suffocating interference of man, not destined to be another building site any time soon.
Article by Emma Boyle
Following a complete sell-out of its evening tours during 2010 at Plas Mawr in Conwy, Cadw is bringing Blodwen the maid out of the shadows in 2011. Two tours will take place every Thursday at the haunted house, starting from April 14th 2011.
The hour-long tours, which can accommodate up to 22 persons at a time, will take place at 6pm and again at 7.30pm. The tours will increase to twice weekly during the summer months when most people take their family holiday with private tour requests also considered subject to availability.
Centuries-old Plas Mawr in Conwy, north Wales has many secrets and stories to tell and the out of hours visitor experiences have been a runaway success at the Townhouse. Blodwen the maid has enthralled hundreds over the summer of tourists and locals alike as she explored the hidden crevices and threw light on the mysteries associated with this grand Elizabethan residence.
Blue Badge guide Rhian Wyn Jones will play the part of Blodwen again as she peels back the layers of history to offer an entertaining journey into the intriguing past of this supposedly haunted house.
Plas Mawr is a particularly dramatic testimony to the new wealth available to the Tudor gentry in Wales after the Act of Union and is architecturally elaborate with its lavish interior decoration, its ornate fireplaces and colourful intricate plasterwork.
This was the house of Robert Wynn (d. 1598), whose initials – R.W. – appear so frequently on its ornamental plasterwork. Having travelled widely in Europe, Robert Wynn married at the age of fifty and bought land for his new house in Conwy. In its design he incorporated elements that were fashionable in London and beyond, as well as reminders of his own and his wife’s family connections with the gentry families of Wales. Specialist plasterers created decorative schemes in the main rooms that incorporated heraldic emblems of the families to whom Robert Wynn was related.
Rhian Wyn Jones, who lives in Conwy herself, said, “I have been thrilled with the response to the evening tours at Plas Mawr and it’s great to back for more in 2011. There was an obvious need for more out of hours events in Conwy and it’s great to see such a positive response from the public and travel trade alike. From the old passageways to the eerie pentagrams to ward off evil spirits there’s plenty to make your hair stand on end but there will also be plenty of fun along the way. I’m looking forward to sharing the wonders of Plas Mawr for those brave enough to join me.”
Tickets for the Plas Mawr evening tours will be available from April 1st on 01492 580167, priced at £6.00, a great treat for all the family on holiday.