Plas Tan y Bwlch gardens reopen after 100mph storms

Storm damage Image copyright SNowdonia National Park
Image caption The storm in February 2014 brought down dozens of trees

It was described as being like "a scene out of a disaster move" as 100mph (160km) winds swept through historic gardens.

Scores of centuries-old trees were felled in February, crushing rare plants at Plas Tan y Bwlch in Gwynedd.

Now, after six months of restoration involving nearly 2,000 new plants and trees, the gardens are able to reopen.

Snowdonia National Park chiefs ultimately want to ensure the gardens are restored to their former glory,

As well as being Grade II-listed, the estate at Plas Tan y Bwlch near Penrhyndeudraeth in Gwynedd is also registered as being a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Head gardener Chris Marshall said the violent storm on Valentine's Day did so much damage they left the gardens having to close to the public for safety reasons.

He said: "Paths were uplifted and destroyed by the roots of these magnificent old trees as they fell to the ground and a vast number of special habitats were destroyed."

Image copyright SNowdonia National Park
Image caption An uprooted tree in the storm of 14 February
Image copyright Mark Kendall
Image caption At the height of the storm, winds hit 108 mph in parts of Gwynedd
Image caption Although the gardens have reopened, there is still work to be done

The Victorian estate was the home of the Oakeley family, who owned the slate quarry at Blaenau Ffestiniog.

The mansion is set in 13 acres of parkland and surrounding woodland.

The gardens were originally laid out by John Roberts in the 1880s, but some of the large Himalayan rhododendron trees are believed to be nearly 200 years old.

Emyr Williams, Snowdonia National Park Authority chief executive, added: "Our hope is to begin on restoration work in due course to ensure that the gardens will offer habitats for a diverse range of mammals and insects."

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