Posted by: Richard Neale | July 31, 2013

This Blog is now closed

This blog has now closed.

Please follow the Snowdonia & Llyn Facebook site

Please feel free to browse the blog, which was run during the succesful appeal to save Llyndy Isaf in 2011.

Diolch am eich cefnogaeth.

Posted by: Richard Neale | March 25, 2012

One year on…

It’s exactly a year since I started this blog and the Llyndy Appeal was launched.

Thanks to the generosity thousands of people from all over the UK and beyond, the farm has now been secured for the nation.

Work is now underway on a management plan that will ensure that the wildlife and traditional farming are maintained and opportunities are created to enable people of all ages – visitors and residents – to enjoy, and learn from, this wonderful place.

In fact,  last week saw Llyndy Isaf being the venue for a nature conservation training course, where countryside staff from all over Wales came to study the wildlife treasures of the farm and debate options for its future management.

For me, the exiting appeal has been the culmination of 27 years of working with the National Trust at Beddgelert.  I have recently decided to accept the offer of a 3-year secondment to be the Trust’s Coastal Engagement Manager for Wales and I took up my duties last week.

This will therefore be my last blog post on the NTSnowdonia.

Although I feel some hiraeth (longing) for my time in this wonderful area, I move to my new post happy in the knowledge that there’s an excellent team now getting to grips with looking after this most special of places.

My final remark is to say a huge Diolch  (thanks) to everyone who contributed to the appeal.  Thanks to you, future generations will gain the same pleasure that we do from this beautiful place.


If you are interested in our work on the coast of Wales, follow my new coastal blog or on twitter: @ntwelshcoast


Posted by: Richard Neale | February 27, 2012

Local team gets to grips with farm

NT Farm Manager Arwyn Owen and Wildlife Officer Sabine Nouvet discuss conservation requirements. © National Trust / NTPL

It’s now nearly 2 months since the final bit of legal paperwork was completed and Llyndy Isaf came fully into National Trust ownership and protection.

As a supporter of our Snowdonia Appeal, I’m sure that you’ll be interested in what has happened since the hand-over.

As we approached the day when Ken and Mem Owen moved to their new home, our first concern was for the security of Llyndy Isaf house and farm buildings. We certainly did not want the farm to be unoccupied – maybe for the first time in its long history – whilst we go through the process of finding a suitable tenant.

That’s where Elgan Jones came to the rescue. Elgan is one of our shepherds at nearby Hafod y Llan farm and he agreed to move – himself and his working dogs – to Llyndy before the handover date so that he can provide security and keep an eye on the land and livestock.

Our next concern has been for the land itself. Farmland by its nature needs farming. Even dramatically wild-looking land like this needs husbandry to keep it looking beautiful and rich in wildlife. And like the security of the buildings, we could not entertain an extended period of the land being left unoccupied.

So, when you next take a walk around Llyn Dinas, you’ll see hardy Welsh Mountain ewes peacefully grazing in the fields nearest the buildings. These have been ‘loaned’ to Llyndy by our Farm Manager at Hafod y Llan, and Elgan has the job of making sure that they are in good health and keeping to where they’re supposed to be. In time, he will be moving them to the rougher mountain pastures to keep them from getting too overgrown.

In the meantime, Sabine Nouvet, our Wildlife Officer has been starting to survey the habitats of the farm, so that she can advise on how we can strike the right balance between biodiversity and farming.

It is this balance that will be at the heart of our new Whole Farm Plan, which we will use to inform prospective tenants of the ‘environmental products’ we would like them to help us deliver as part of their farming activities.

We are also planning meetings where local residents can share their thoughts with us on how the farm can provide opportunities for social, educational and economic community benefits. 

Look out for future posts about these and other developments – or why not send in a comment on your thoughts on how Llyndy Isaf should be managed?

Posted by: Richard Neale | December 15, 2011

Update from the Snowdonia Appeal Ranger Team

By donating to our Llyndy Isaf campaign, you have already played a part in caring for a special bit of Snowdonia.  You can be sure that it will always be sympathetically managed – for wildlife, for amenity and for the community.

But have you ever wondered what happens to your money if you donate to the main Snowdonia Appeal?

Well, why not take a look at the latest newsletter from our Snowdonia Appeal Ranger Team?  Rhys Thomas, our Ranger Supervisor has put together this publication to let everyone know about the valuable conservation work the team have been doing with donations to the appeal.

To obtain a copy of this newsletter, you are welcome to email me on or visit our Eryri & Llyn Facebook site where you can view the pages.

Mae croeso i chi ebostio fi neu ewch i’n safle Facebook i gael fersiwn Gymraeg o’r cylchlythyr diddorol yma.

Posted by: Richard Neale | November 17, 2011

“Diwedd y Dechrau” – The end of the beginning…


Mae llwyddiant yr apel yn dod a atgofion…  The Appeal’s success leads me to reflect on my experiences…

  With the last of several media interviews completed, I returned to the Trust’s office at Craflwyn yesterday afternoon to gather the team together to crack open a bottle of bubbly and break into a chocolate cake.

Although the drink was cheap bucks fizz served from paper cups and the cake was definitely ‘no-frills’, this was a well deserved – if modest – celebration for over a year’s work on the Llyndy Isaf appeal.

It’s true that the cause of saving such a special place has been a popular one from the start; but we know from experience that appeals like this don’t succeed on their own. 

Dozens of people, here in Snowdonia, at our Wales Office and at our Head Office in Swindon, have worked with dedication and teamwork to ensure that we were able to put over our case convincingly, with the best possible coverage and have been able to respond to the hundreds of requests for more information, visits and interviews.

As I tucked into my second piece of cake, the team chatting enthusiastically around me, I reflected on some of the highlights of the appeal.  I’ve jotted some of them down for you here – with links to the relevant blog post if you want to read more…

  • Hosting a visit by David Bullock, the Trust’s Head of Nature Conservation, when we were first asked by Ken Owen whether we’d be interested in the acquiring the farm.  David was bowled over by the great condition of the wetlands, heaths and regenerating woodlands – but was most impressed by the visit to the old copper mine at Llwyn Du.  I must have been ‘on form’ that day, as my recounting of this evocative site’s social history convinced him that this site was worthy of Trust protection.
  • Visiting Llyndy Isaf in the depth of last winter’s deep-freeze to get photos of the farm covered with snow.  I’ll never forget following otter tracks across the frozen lake.
  • The convivial gathering of colleagues, supporters, friends, schoolchildren and other stakeholders at the appeal launch on the 31st of March listening to actor Matthew Rhys talking passionately about his love of this area, as the sun came out onto a mirror-still Llyn Dinas.
  • Chatting to owner Ken Owen in his kitchen about the history of the lost smallholdings that can be found on the farm.
  • Guiding various prospective donors around the lake throughout the summer and realising that I did not really need to say much to convince them to give – the place speaks for itself.
  • Spending a perfect morning walking with landscape photographer Jo Cornish, and being delighted by the photos that he’d taken from the various vantage points I’d pointed out to him.
  • Meeting volunteer film-makers Pete and Jo, who’s superb “Imprisoned Paradise” film was made in atrocious weather in August.
  • Receiving a generous donation from wild swimmers, Matthew and Heather who did a charity swim on the Thames
  • Hearing that Julie and Mark’s epic cycle challenge up Mont Ventoux had been successful
  • Enjoying a wonderful three-course roast beef dinner on a mountain as a guest of the Columbus Fellowship
  • Travelling to London’s square mile and finding generosity to our cause at a major investment bank in the heart of capitalism.

Now that the appeal has reached its goal, we will get going with the purchase and start work on a management plan in discussion with the community and stakeholder organisations such as the Snowdonia National Park and the Countryside Council for Wales.

I keep you updated with news about how things are going – on an occasional basis from now on.  If you are not already subscribed, please click the email subscription button on the right to get updates.  You can also join the Eryri & Llyn Facebook site for news of our conservation work and events in the area.

Diolch i bawb am eich cefnogaeth.

Posted by: Richard Neale | November 16, 2011

Llyndy Isaf Secured for the Nation

The timeless beauty of Llyn Dinas is now secure Photo: © NT/Jo Cornish

 We have announced today that the appeal to raise £1m to secure one of Snowdonia’s most beautiful places has reached its goal.  Thanks to the generosity of people like you, we can now ensure that this place will remain unspoilt for generations to come.

I’m on my way to meet the owner, Ken Owen and the rest of the local NT team at the farm now for interviews with the press.  It’s amazing to think that it’s just over 6 months since we launched the appeal in the spring sunshine on the shores of the lake. 

On Friday, we will be meeting our local liaison group to start discussions on how we will be managing the farm.

I’ll update you later on how things go today. 

In the meantime, why not take a look at past blog posts as a reminder of the highlights of the appeal.

Click here to see this morning’s BBC Website article.


Posted by: Richard Neale | October 27, 2011

Cysylltwch – Connect! Keep up-to-date with our Facebook site

  • Cadwch mewn cysylltiad 
  • Find out what we’re up to in the area…

If you’re interested in how our Llyndy Isaf appeal is doing,  would you also like to know what we’re up to in the area?

Why not subscribe to our Eryri & Llyn Facebook site and find out what’s happening is Snowdonia & Llyn?

Click here to go to the site for up-to-date news and comments.

Wrth ymuno â’n safle Facebook, gallwch cadw mewn cysylltiad â be sy’n mynd ymlaen yn ein ardal. 

Rhowch adborth am ein gweithgareddau a byddwch yn rhan o grŵp o gyfeillion sy’n tyfu’n ddyddiol.

Posted by: Richard Neale | October 23, 2011

Snowdon Conquered in Aid of Llyndy Isaf

The team set off on their fundraising challenge

Eight intrepid colleagues from the Trust’s Supporter Services Centre braved strong winds and aching joints to successfully climb Wales’ highest peak on Saturday, the 22nd of October.

Inspired by their job of handling donations to our appeal, they decided to give up their time to do a series of sponsored events to raise £1,000 for Llyndy Isaf .

Pausing for a breather on the way up

I joined the team at 8 a.m. sharp at the Snowdon Ranger youth hostel and soon we were battling 40 mph winds as we wound our way up the 935 m. of arduous ascent.  I found it fascinating to hear about how the staff at the SSC work.

The centre process all the membership applications and donations as well as handling thousands of enquiries daily.  I must admit that I shared many people’s misconceptions of what people in ‘call centre’ actually do.

Chatting to this lively group of Liverpudlians, I came to realise that here was a team who believe passionately in the work of the Trust and enjoy playing a crucial part in keeping the organisation going.

I was reminded of the office worker at NASA who when asked in the 1960s what she did, gave the answer “I’m helping putting a man on the moon”.

Eventually our path merged with the Llanberis Path and we joined the crowds triumphantly climbing the last half mile ridge to the summit.  As we tucked into our sandwiches and flasks we were reminded that food and drink always tastes better after you’ve climbed a mountain.  Julie remarked “that was the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had”.

The team make it to the summit

With frequent Scouse expletives ("I'm bloody freeeez'n"), the team strip off their coats - superman-style - to reveal their NT t-shirts.

As we prepared to leave the summit the mist parted and we were treated to wonderful views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

With sore feet and aching knees, we eventually got back safely to the car park at about 4:00pm, happy in the knowledge that although the ascent broke no records (at about 1-mile-an-hour average speed) we had done more to help Snowdonia than most of the others who climbed Snowdon that day.

Now it’s your turn to help, by going to   Diolch yn fawr.

Posted by: Richard Neale | October 18, 2011

These boots are made for walking - and raising funds for Llyndy Isaf

I will be joining a team from the National Trust Supporter Services Centre as they take part in a sponsored walk up Snowdon on Saturday (22 October) to raise funds for Llyndy Isaf.

If you’ve given to the appeal, then it was probably this team who handled your donation.  They are based at our Warrington Supporter base and deal with all donations to National Trust campaigns. 

They were so moved by the story of Llyndy Isaf that they too decided to give their own time and raise funds to buy the farm.

Campaign Manager Alyson Myers said, “We speak and write to many supporters who have donated to save Llyndy Isaf and we wanted to take part in Snowdonia Appeal fundraising too. What better way then to walk in beautiful Snowdonia and raise money for the Appeal at the same time.”

The team have set up a JustGiving page for an easy way to donate. To support their sponsored walk – please go to


Posted by: Richard Neale | October 10, 2011

Ioan Gruffudd Pledges Support for Snowdonia

Snowdonia means a lot to Ioan Gruffudd

We announced today that another Welsh star of stage and screen has joined Matthew Rhys and Catherine Zeta Jones in pledging support for Llyndy Isaf.

 We were delighted when he offered to help by giving the appeal a boost to take us up to the target of £1m.

Visit the BBC Website for the story by clicking here.

With only 3 months left to raise the last £150,000, the pace is of the appeal quickening.

In the next week I hope to update you on an exciting fundraising event that’s being planned in New York.  Keep in touch with this blog to find out more.

Posted by: Richard Neale | September 28, 2011

Visit an Imprisoned Paradise

With our appeal to secure Llyndy Isaf nearing its target, two young film makers have been inspired to capture the farm’s haunting beauty.

Despite never having been to Llyndy Isaf before, Pete Dungey and Joe Spiteri felt compelled to help our appeal when they realised what was at stake.

The pair spent days under canvas, enduring atrocious weather to create a magical film that can help draw the public’s attention to this incredible place and important appeal.

The pair named their magical and moody masterpiece Imprisoned Paradise as they believe this part of Snowdonia to be a peaceful idyll held captive by the surrounding mountains.

Using specialist techniques, the filmmaking duo from Oxford has been able to focus on the often unseen beauty of Llyndy Isaf.  Pete explained, “using detailed macro shots we were able to introduce the beauty of small elements that would usually go unnoticed such as the tiny spider emerging from its habitat”.

“We were also able to capture some underwater footage getting the audience immersed in the lake itself.”

To view Imprisoned Paradise, click here

Posted by: Richard Neale | September 16, 2011

NT Members to Help Reach the Target

Does this look familiar? Why not take a while to explore the blog to learn more...?

Have you received your National Trust Magazine yet?

If you have, make sure that you take a look at the insert that went with it. 

You will see that I’m asking for your help to enable us to reach our target of £1m to secure a very special part of Snowdonia for future generations.

The good news is that we’re nearly there.  With over £800,000 already donated into the Appeal, we now need your help to help us go the last mile.  Just fill in the form and send what you can – however small – in the envelope provided.  Every donation brings us closer to saving Llyndy Isaf.

If you are new to this blog, why not take a look at some of my past posts to learn more about this amazing place – or subscribe to the blog to receive news about how the appeal is going.

A big Welsh ‘diolch yn fawr’ (thank you) for your help.

Posted by: Richard Neale | August 30, 2011

Lucky Winners Visit Farm

“I never win anything!”

This was Iona Seymour’s amazed reaction when she found out that she was one of three lucky winners who’s names had been picked from amongst the tens of thousands of people who’ve so far donated to the Llyndy Appeal.

Iona, together with fellow-winners Rachel Rosen and Rafe Osborne, had travelled to Beddgelert yesterday to claim their prize: a night at our residential centre at Craflwyn, followed by a personal guided tour of Llyndy Isaf and a chance to meet owners Ken and Mem Owen.

Joining us for a tasty dinner of home-cooked Welsh lamb last night was the Trust’s new Director for Wales, Justin Albert who was accompanying the lucky trio as part of his induction.

As we walked around the lake today it was wonderful to have an oportunity to share my passion for this amazing place, and to feel the group come under its spell. 

But of course Llyndy Isaf can captivate people without any help from me.   The sight of a wild brown trout leaping clean out of the calm waters of the lake; the garish red of the fly-agaric toadstool bursting through the woodland floor; the rich honeyed scent of the purple heather blossom wafting on the breeze; the wonderfully delicate nodding blue heads of the hairbell.  All these sights and sensations guarenteed that our friends were suitably impressed and could feel rightly proud that by donating to the appeal, they have played their part in conserving these treasures for future generations to enjoy.

This was our way of saying diolch yn fawr – thank you.

L to R: Rhys Evans, Snowdonia Operations Manager, Iona Seymour, Richard Neale, Rachel Rosen and Rafe Osbourn. Photo taken by Justin Alblert, Director for Wales, before the walk around the farm.




Posted by: Richard Neale | August 26, 2011

Wild Swimmers make contact…

I’ve just received this message from Matthew Jones, who together with Heather Letley have so far raised £270 for their charity swim in aid of Llyndy Isaf on their justgiving site.

To Richard and all the supporters of the Llyndy campaign

Many thanks for featuring our sponsored Thames swim on the blog.

We’re very glad that we were able to contribute to such a worthy cause.

The 2.25m swim itself wasn’t too bad; the water was quite warm, but a bit oily – nowhere near as pleasant as swimming in the lakes of Snowdonia! Still, it was an unusual opportunity and well worth it. We did get some strange looks (as well as a few cheers) from walkers and joggers on the riverbank though…

Best of luck with the rest of the appeal.

A huge thanks on behalf of the National Trust to Matt and Heather – hope to see you when you next take a dip at Llyn  Dinas.

Posted by: Richard Neale | August 21, 2011

Eryri Goes to the Heart of Capitalism

Eryri benefits from London's square mile

“How would you like to come to the city to talk to some of my contacts in the bank?” 

The question was being asked on the shores of Llyn Dinas, a location that could not be more different than the glass skyscrapers of London’s square mile. 

The person asking the question was an investment banker who busts a few myths about his profession.  Philanthropic and sensitive, both he and his wife are passionate about Snowdonia and have already made their own contribution to the appeal. 

Ever since a chance meeting at a National Trust event five years ago, it has been my pleasure to spend some time with this friendly couple once a year during their annual holiday in our mountains.

So that is how I came in June to be standing in my best suit in front of an imposing audience of my friend’s colleagues and contacts, high up in one of those gleaming towers.

My fears that the talk would not appeal to such a business-orientated audience evaporated when I saw the obvious delight they showed at my attempts to capture the magic of my cynefin – or homeland.  Even my rendition of a few lines of T. H. Parry-Williams seemed to go down well, although I admit that Joe Cornish’s pictures played a big part in their appreciation.

My peroration over, and an eloquent and persuasive address from Fiona Reynolds, our Director General to round things off, we spent the next hour or so chatting about Eryri: the importance of conserving its delights and the challenges facing its farming communities.

The result of this evening’s work, spent so far from the lapping waters of Llyn Dinas’ shores, was a much-needed boost of just over £20,000 to our appeal.

Although the biggest part of the appeal fund has been made up by small donations from people of more modest means, it was good to know that when we took our cause to the heart of capitalism, it found such a willing audience.

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