GALE force winds brought down thousands of trees, including “irreplaceable” specimens, as Storm Arwen hit the UK.

The National Trust says the full extent of the damage caused by the storm was still being assessed, but restoration was likely to cost at least £3 million.

Among the worst hit areas were in north Wales, including Bodnant Garden near Conwy and Erddig in Wrexham.

 

Storm damage at Bodnant Gardens. Image: National Trust/Facebook

Storm damage at Bodnant Gardens. Image: National Trust/Facebook

 

More than 50 trees were uprooted at the Trust’s Bodnant Garden, including a 51-metre tall “champion” coast redwood, as well as many hybrid rhododendrons that are unique to the property.

The devastation left staff in tears and the clear-up is expected to take several months.

 

Storm damage at Bodnant Gardens. Image: National Trust/Facebook

Storm damage at Bodnant Gardens. Image: National Trust/Facebook

 

Acting head gardener at Bodnant Garden, Adam Salvin, added: “It’s been a real shock to staff and volunteers coming in to see the devastation caused in one night. There have been tears.

“We’ve seen storms and floods here before but this damage is on a scale not seen in living memory.”

Today, the National Trust posted: "Friday’s storm brought down veteran trees and destroyed some of the most unique varieties we care for. Bodnant Garden in Conwy and Wallington in Northumberland are among the worst affected. Rangers in the Lake District are still assessing the damage with thousands of trees believed to have been lost.

The National Wales:

"Recovery after this storm will be a long process and with a changing climate, we can expect to see more storm events on this scale in the future."

And at Erddig, the grounds were closed in the wake of the storm due to fallen trees.

After the storm, staff posted: "There will be work taking place across the estate to deal with various tree damage issues, if you are walking on the estate please take extra care. Many thanks."

Other National Trust properties that were badly affected include Hardcastle Crags in West Yorkshire, Cragside in Northumberland and Attingham Park in Shropshire.

Storm damage at Bodnant Gardens. Image: National Trust/Facebook

Storm damage at Bodnant Gardens. Image: National Trust/Facebook

 

Andy Jasper, head of gardens and parklands at the National Trust, said the storm had delivered a “huge blow to British heritage” at Bodnant, taking down some of the most important and earliest specimen trees at the garden.

“With it being National Tree Week we had expected to be celebrating the extraordinary trees in our care – not witnessing the scale of destruction we have.

“But this week has taken on a new significance for us, and we’re asking our supporters to donate, if they can, to help us restore the places affected.”

He said the gardens and landscapes would take months to clear up, and years or even decades to fully restore – and some would not be the same again.

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Janet Finch-Saunders, MS for Aberconwy and shadow minister for climate change, said she was "deeply upset" by the damage at Bodnant Garden and called for action to build more "storm resilient communities" across Wales.

She said: "Storm Arwen was another stark reminder of the power of mother nature, with the occurrence of these extremely high wind speeds set to increase as a result of global climate change. I am deeply upset to have now received reports about the extent of the damage caused to Bodnant Garden.

“In recognising the ecological damage that Storm Arwen has wrecked, with many older and special trees felled across the constituency, yesterday I called on the Minister for Climate Change to make a statement on the measures that the Welsh Government will take to ensure that we have more storm resilient communities.

“It is essential that National Tree Week is used as an opportunity for our organisations to discuss how we can safeguard our biodiverse habitats from some of the more extreme weather patterns experienced, especially given the flood and heat management benefits that we know these trees provide.”

Meanwhile, the trust is advising visitors to sites in north Wales and England to check property websites before setting out, as some places remain closed and walking routes at others may have changed due to the damage.

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