GWRYCH castle has not only released their full vision for its designed landscape project but details of its latest competition.

The Abergele castle, which hosted I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! last year, has launched a new raffle which includes merchandise signed by former campmate Russell Watson.

The signing was done recently; the tenor recently visited the 200-year-old folly as part of a work trip.

The classical artist hopes to put on a concert in the summer at the site.

Prizes also included as part of the latest raffle are two day passes and tea in the dining room where Russell, and other I’m A Celeb contestants, had their banquet on the show.

The Designed Landscape Project 2018-2043 that has been unveiled to the public involves a 25 years plan to consolidate and repair buildings and structures, revive the ideas of the picturesque movement and create educational, training and employment opportunities.

Russell Watson recently signed goodies for the raffle. Pictures: Gwrych Castle

Russell Watson recently signed goodies for the raffle. Pictures: Gwrych Castle

A spokesperson from the castle said: “In June 2018, Gwrych Castle was purchased by the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust for the benefit of the nation.

"A 10 year programme of works which will see the castle and outbuildings conserved and restored is underway. It will deliver a wealth of educational and training benefits in partnership with local and national organisations.

"The restoration of the castle is the core of our work.

Recreate the formal gardens and to rebuild the conservatory. Pictures: Gwrych Castle

Recreate the formal gardens and to rebuild the conservatory. Pictures: Gwrych Castle

"Today the main castle is a ruin in need of extensive conservation and consolidation.

"The works done externally to make safe the castle has enabled us to welcome visitors and provide meaningful interpretation of this significant symbol of Welsh heritage. The next 10 years will see the castle restored.

"The built structures which are within this most important 19th century designed landscape (2018 to 2043) are also the focus of our attention and we have a 25 year plan."

In brief, some of the aims in the 2018 to 2043 project include:

  • Recreating the formal gardens and to rebuild the conservatory: The garden was destroyed in 1971/2 when a jousting tilt yard was formed in the space. Since 2014, the trust has recreated
  • To restore nine miles of historic pathways, staircases and viewing platforms and to reintroduce Lloyd’s planting scheme.
  • To restoring the historic bridge to form part of the visitor’s experience.
  • Rebuild Lloyd’s cottage orné: Lloyd preserved the cottage as part of his landscaping of the hillside. He enhanced the already picturesque cottage with a thatched roof and installed the gamekeeper who would show visitors around the parkland above the castle.
  • To return visitors to a unique picturesque experience: Restoring access to the caves via Lloyd’s network of paths will enable visitors to walk in the footsteps of Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Heskeths and his contemporaries, ascending along the paths and staircases into the darkness of the caves through to

There has been rumours that Gwrych Castle is to purchase woodlands off the Rhyd y Foel road.

The castle confirmed Natural Resources Wales’s position and said there has been “no change to land ownership or boundaries”.

A castle spokesperson said: “Gwrych Castle is privately owned estate and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) - legacy forestry commission Wales - has a long-term lease over areas of the woodland within the estate since 1951.

“There is no dedicated open access, public rights of way or permissive paths within the NRW lease land.

“NRW and Gwrych Castle Trust are working together to manage the castle and surrounding woodland and to improve public access for visitors to the castle.

“There have been no changes to land ownerships or boundaries.”

NRW are reviewing elements of Llanddulas Limestone and Gwrych Castle Wood SSSI; a recent study on stands of the Scapanietum Asperae has shown that it is under threat due to the invasion of parts of the SSSI by Cotoneaster Integrifolius and other scrub.

NRW are also in talks for thinning and felling sections of the commercial timber plantations within the Great Castle Wood. This follows routine felling of dangerous trees last year as part of their maintenance of the plantation.

A spokesperson for the castle said: "Moving forward, part of our vision for the woodland is to have dedicated areas for mountain biking and other outdoor pursuits, which avoid the SSSI and historic features.

"Another ambition is to formally open access to the caves at Tan yr Ogo, which are part of the Estate, for visitors and for organised rock climbing activities.

"This will link in the restoration works on Lady Emily’s Tower and the Gamekeeper’s Cottage, both of which are excluded from the lease and are in hand with the castle."

To enter the latest raffle, which ends of Mother's Day, visit Gwrych Castle on Facebook.

The castle trust has raised more than £8,000 from their raffles since December.

The trust recently revealed that enough money has been raised through their fundraiser to reconnect the main electric.

The spokesperson said: "We are continuing to fundraise for the water reconnection monies.

"The utilities were disconnected in 1995 when New Age Travellers took over the castle and grounds. This is a landmark moment in the rescue of the castle when we will be able to officially to turn on the lights."

To see the vision document, click here.

And see further updates here