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Llysdinam Field Centre

Llysdinam Field Centre is based on land owned by the Llysdinam Charitable Trust and run by the School of Biosciences at Cardiff University. It is based near the village of Newbridge-on-Wye in Mid-Wales, some 70 miles north of Cardiff. The Centre has a teaching and research role with a number of staff and students working from there. It is also the base for the Wales Biomass Centre.

Field Centre History

The Centre was opened in 1970, for scientific and educational purposes, by the late Sir Michael Venables-Llewelyn.

The Llysdinam Estate, on which the Field Centre was established, is the home of the Dillwyn-Venables-Llewelyn family who have a long history of interest in science and the environment. The Dillwyn-Llewelyns came from Penllergaer, near Swansea and were one-time owners of the Nantgarw china factory. John Llewelyn was a colleague of Wheatstone (of "bridge" fame) and, through family marriage, was connected to Fox Talbot (the photographic pioneer), he himself also becoming well-known in this field. The Dillwyn side of the family boasted one of the most famous botanists of the period and several members of the family became Fellows of the Royal Society. After the Dillwyn-Llewelyns had moved to Llysdinam in the 1830’s marriage brought the Venables name into the family and, because the Rev. Venables was vicar of Clyro (opposite Hay on Wye), his curate, Francis Kilvert, the famous diarist, became a regular visitor to the house.

By 1911 Sir Charles Dillwyn-Venables-Llewelyn had erected a series of bird nest boxes on the estate and the legacy of these original boxes continues today with about 1000 now installed and monitored in local woodlands. In the 1960’s Sir Charles’ son, Sir Michael, was instrumental in establishing the local county wildlife trust and was also the last Lord Lieutenant of Radnorshire before it disappeared in local government reorganisation in 1974. To bring long-term financial stability to the core of the Llysdinam estate, Sir Michael established a charitable trust with educational objectives centred around the land peripheral to Llysdinam House. The university was offered and accepted the invitation to have an educational presence on this Llysdinam Trust land and the Centre was established in 1970. The Llysdinam Trust has subsequently been a generous landlord and benefactor to the Field Centre. The Centre additionally tenants some 20 ha of land throughout Mid-Wales.