There are times when I stop myself mid-coffee and think how lucky I am to be able to do what I do. Those of you who know me know I have spent years cultivating this cynical northern exterior; but just sometimes a place like Dyffryn Gardens gets under the skin.
Dyffryn is taking a holistic approach to environmental improvements:
Flood risk zone mapping and alleviation works such as ditch and culvert clearance works.
Reducing mains water usage and incorporating rainwater harvesting for the glasshouses and nursery areas.
Upgrading supply pipework and reinstating borehole water supplies to supplement this rainwater harvesting.
Full water resources risk assessment, working with neighbouring landowners, Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales to improve the water quality in the catchment.Incorporating the National Trust Environmental Standard for Parks and Gardens.
On the energy front too, much is underway:
Air source heat pumps will provide heat to not only one area, but four – North Lodge, East Lodge offices, the shop and the visitor tea rooms. Work on these elements begins early January and will be completed before the end of February.
A newly completed super insulated 160 metre heat main is connecting the mansion, St.Michaels building, Corey Education rooms, and the Gardeners buildings and the glasshouses themselves.
A new 250kw Froling biomass boiler has arrived at its new home within the tractor store building. Over the next month this will be connected to the heat main in order to ensure that the old totally inefficient oil boilers can be switched off once and for all.
Coupled with this Keith and I are working with property staff on energy efficiency measures –LED conservation grade lighting, secondary glazing, real-time energy monitoring and interpretation. We already have an Electric vehicle charge point installed, and property “buggies” are also electrically powered.
There is still more to do – improve flood attenuation ponds, bunding to divert flood waters around the historic mansion, further upgrades to borehole irrigation across the gardens, but lets face it who wouldn’t want to spend more time at Dyffryn. Oh and the coffee is really good as well!