The nominations have now closed, the judges have deliberated and now the top 10 Special Places in Wales can be revealed.
For the past six weeks the Welsh public have been nominating their favourite locations across Wales as part of National Trust Wales’ Special Places campaign – and now the race is on for ten different locations across Wales to ensure they are crowned as the top spot.
The conservation charity’s Special Places campaign has sparked a national conversation that has seen people talking about, and voting for, their own ‘special place’ in Wales – now the public are being asked to vote online by Sunday 3rd August, or in person at ballot boxes at the shortlisted locations by Thursday 31st July, to help choose their winner.
The top ten to be announced today by Welsh broadcasting celebrity Roy Noble at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show is:
1) Penarth Pier
4) Brecon Beacons
6) Dyffryn House and Gardens
7) Snowdonia National Park
8) Cyfarthfa Castle
10) The Lonely Tree
With recent research by The Trust showing the places we grew up are officially the most special to people in Wales (44 per cent), the campaign is aiming to celebrate everyone’s own unique places and help preserve them for all to enjoy.
The shortlist was chosen by a panel of official judges, a mixture of travel and heritage experts including broadcaster Roy Noble, travel journalist and TV Presenter Simon Calder and TV wildlife presenter Iolo Williams, who are spearheading the campaign and calling on the public to join in and vote for their favourite place to be crowned Wales’ official Special Place.
To vote for their winner, the people of Wales are being urged to vote via Twitter using #lleoeddarbennig /#specialplaces @NTWales, or on Facebook at [link to go live on 23rd July at http://on.fb.me/1nJMU6f
Fashion Designer, Julien Macdonald, is rooting for Cyfarthfa Castle and says of his Special Place: "One of my favourite places in Merthyr Tydfil has to be Cyfarthfa castle. As a young boy I have fond memories of going to school there, sitting in the splendid rooms of the castle. My favourite was the round room, which happened to be the music room, because of its high ceilings and amazing sense of opulence, which you can only find in a magical castle in Wales. It’s great to say to people that I went to school in a castle in Wales, steeped in history and natural beauty. The beautiful gardens of the castle have always inspired me and I still reference them all the time in my design work.”
Bryn Terfel CBE is meanwhile gunning for Snowdonia to come out on top: “There is no place quite like Snowdonia National Park. With its breathtaking scenery and staggering rural beauty, Snowdonia is one of Wales’ greatest examples of natural wonder. I hope that the Welsh Public share my view and vote for Snowdonia in the National Trust’s Special Places campaign – let’s make Snowdonia number one.”
Speaking of the campaign, Special Places panel member and National Trust’s Director for Wales, Justin Albert, commented: “As a conservation charity which looks after special places all across Wales, our campaign is really all about celebrating and preserving the different places in Wales that mean the most to us. So while a few of the shortlist may seem like obvious choices, there are some true hidden gems in there which people may never have even heard of.
“It’s been exciting to see what places people across Wales have been gunning for the top spot over since the start of the campaign – we can’t wait to see which Special Places comes out on top.”
With more than 90 per cent of people believing more should be done to preserve special places, the winning Special Place will be given help and support by The Trust to help preserve and promote it in Wales alongside campaign partners Cadw, Cynnal Cymru and Visit Wales.