Day 72 mile 72: Treborth Botanic Garden

img_9601Day 72 mile 72: Treborth Botanic Garden. One of the wonderful things about trying to run a mile a day is it is forcing me to rediscover the amazing things right under my nose which are so easily taken for granted. Treborth is about a 5 min drive from where I work and is so tucked away that it is easily overlooked, however this would be a terrible mistake.

The current site was originally developed as a Victorian tourist destination, Britannia Park, by the Chester and Holyhead Railway Company as a tourist attraction in the 1840s when Menai Bridge Station adjoined the land. The grounds were designed by Sir Joseph Paxton of Crystal Palace fame, and features of his design such as the lime avenue are still evident.
In the 1960s, Bangor University bought the patch of woodland by the strait, together with the grassland above it, to develop a collection of plants for the Department of Botany. (The photos really don’t do it justice!)


Parts of the old unimproved pasture now have a variety of management regimes to display the effects of these treatments on the native flora, while other parts have been developed to grow a wide range of wild and cultivated plants from all over the world that flourish in our mild climate with a relatively high rainfall and shelter from Atlantic gales A feature of the garden is the diversity of habitats and soil types, supporting many native plants and animals. These are encouraged by conserving a range of grassland and woodland habitats. Part of the woodland is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). There is also a collection of native plants from coastal and the mountains of Snowdonia and from coastal habitats in Wales. These provide opportunities for study and experimentation with flora and fauna from many ecological niches including freshwater and seashore.

The Garden has six glasshouses and a teaching laboratory and rhizotron. The Temperate Glasshouse features cacti, succulents, South African native plants and Canary Island native plants. The Tropical Glasshouse houses a variety of plants from the tropics including banana cultivars. The Orchid House and Bubble House contain the collections of orchids and carnivorous plants. Other glasshouses are used to house tender species from temperate zones, Welsh native flora, and for propagation and storage. There has been a rhizotron (a below-ground laboratory used in the study of soils and plant roots) at Treborth for many years. This allows the study of carbon storage and turnover in soil ecosystems from the bottom up, allowing the scientists to peer into intact soil profiles from an underground observatory. This has recently been upgraded, funded by a Royal Society grant for £150,000, allowing scientists to actually interact with the soil at depth and sample soil atmosphere or soil solution, or root tissue, without disturbing the soil itself. I’ve been in and it’s fascinating 🙂

It’s an astounding place. It shouldn’t matter that I also broke my (thoroughly self inflicted) target for this month of an 8:45 mile on the flat today… but it makes it feel even better.

Thanks for all the support and good wishes.



I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.

Distance: 1628.4 meters recorded

(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)
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