PUPILS from Barry Island Primary took part in a workshop to learn about the charm behind what make’s Dyffryn Gardens a ‘special place’ of Wales.

The workshop was instigated by National Trust Wales as part of their Special Places campaign; which has sparked a national conversation that has seen people talking about, and voting for, their own ‘special place’ in Wales – with the winning top spot set to be revealed at this year’s National Eisteddfod in August.

Lead by Rhiannon Gamble, Interpretation and Learning Officer of Dyffryn Gardens, the 21 pupils discussed their reasons behind their own special places whilst being taught the history of local National Trust Wales property Dyffryn Gardens; the special place of Reginald Cory.

Reginald Cory had a lifelong passion for plants and gardens and gave generously in support of many horticultural causes and establishments including Cambridge University Botanic Garden and the Royal Horticultural Society.

As part of the interactive session, the pupils created their own paper dahlias to commemorate 100 years since the dahlia trials held at Dyffryn Gardens – when 7,000 dahlias were planted in the gardens by Cory.

Speaking of the workshop, Rhiannon said: “It was great to speak with the children and see them get enthusiastic about their own special places. I shared stories with the pupils told them about playing hide and seek with my sisters and rolling down the great lawn slopes at Dyffryn Gardens as a way of showing them my own special place when I was their age and demonstrating to them that our special places stay with us all our lives.”

Aled Williams, teacher at Barry Island Primary School, said: “The interactive session was a great way for the children to learn about their local landmarks and to understand the importance of preserving these special places.

“They were getting very enthusiastic about hearing the stories of Reginald Cory and I’m sure they can’t wait to go and see their paper flowers in the paper dahlia garden.”

As part of the Special Places campaign, the National Trust has enlisted a panel of official judges, a mixture of travel and heritage experts who are spearheading the campaign and calling on the public to join in and get their own top places in the shortlist.

Judges on board include TV wildlife presenter Iolo Williams, travel journalist, broadcaster and TV Presenter Simon Calder, broadcaster Roy Noble, Alan Edmunds Editor of the Western Mail, Justin Albert the National Trust Director for Wales, and a host of names from partnering heritage and travel groups including Visit Wales, Cynnal Cymru and CADW.

The panel is urging the public to submit their votes via Twitter, online, or by filling in a voting slip at National Trust locations – ahead of the judges meeting to decide on a top ten shortlist of places to put out to public voting for a final time.

The winning ‘Special Place’ will be given help and support to promote it in Wales and internationally by the National Trust and their campaign partners.