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In 1997, a twelve year old Mark Baker, set about raising the profile of one of north Wales’s most iconic buildings by founding Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust, a registered charity, to seek a long term solution for the castle and grounds. He had watched Gwrych Castle being asset stripped and its remaining interiors destroyed by New Age Travellers and others and realised the cultural loss suffered was enormous so it became his ambition to restore public access back to what had been a major asset in the north Wales economy. Against all the odds, the fortunes of Gwrych Castle were reversed from being a forlorn, abandoned privately owned and abused building to a much cherished heritage asset that is becoming once again part of the local area. Many books have been published to engage the community with its shared history of the castle and its connection with the local area.
Twenty years later, Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust has a 25-year lease for five acres of the site which has enabled it to begin restoration of the first section of the castle with the Countess’s Writing Room in the Gardener’s Tower being used regularly for writing groups, the formal gardens are regularly opened and were included in the Gardens North Wales Festival (www.gardensnorthwales.co.uk) and for the public to explore via guided and self-guided tours safely during opening hours: 9am – 4pm each day. Our main aim has been to make the castle safe for visitors and locals alike.
All of this would not have been possible without the team of amazing volunteers; some retired, some still at school, some voluntary, some as part of programmes from Job Centre Plus and other organisations, some with a love of history, some with a love of gardens, some to help with tours and events, some to gather archival materials. But the one thing all the volunteers have in common is that they love Gwrych Castle and work hard to restore, renovate and revive it. Without that passion none of this would have been possible. If you wish to join this amazing team email [email protected]
To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Trust’s founding we are holding a series of events at the castle:
- 19th and 20th August – a Medieval Festival
- 16th and 17th September – the first International Drone Competition which has attracted competitors from all over the world to come to Abergele
- 1st October – For our four legged friends, we will be holding a family fun dog show
- Halloween – there will be a whole series of events so keep an eye on the website
- December – the return of Father Christmas plus a new event, a Victorian Christmas Fayre
- New Year’s Eve – another amazing party complete with fireworks.