Bodnant Garden allows in pet dogs for the first time

Bodnant Garden
Image caption Bodnant Garden has been open to the public since before World War II

One of the best known gardens in Wales is allowing dogs inside for the first time.

Bodnant Garden in the Conwy Valley has been in the hands of the National Trust since 1949.

The 80-acre site has been open to the public since before World War II, but staff say pet dogs have always been banned.

But on Tuesday was the first of three days over the next three month when it is allowing dogs in as an experiment.

There will be one "dog day" per month in January, February and March when dogs will be welcome to join their owners in visiting the ornamental rose gardens, the laburnum arch, the canal terrace or the wooded dell.

William Greenwood, property manager at Bodnant Garden, said no-one was sure why dogs had not been allowed in until now.

"I think it's just something that we haven't done, and we've never thought to revisit that decision," he added.

"You hear a lot of stories about people leaving their dogs in the cars in our car park - that worries people. Others tie them up outside so you can hear them barking."

Mess bags

The idea originally came from Tracey Jones, who has been a gardener at Bodnant for 11 years. She owns a three-year-old black Labrador called Rossi.

"A lot of my friends ask me where I work. When I say that I work at Bodnant Garden they always say they'd love to bring their dogs," she said.

"That's what gave me the idea to nag the people in the office to allow dogs in for a trial period. I'm really pleased they've said yes."

Staff at Bodnant Garden are on hand with dog mess bags in case of any problems.

But Mr Greenwood said he was not expecting any difficulties.

"Many of the people who come here every day are dog owners," he said.

"Our visitors look after the gardens, and I don't see why dog owners shouldn't respect them when they're here with their pets."

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