Rhuddlan Castle in Denbighshire has seen no shortage of conflict. A pivotal location in the Edwardian Conquest of Wales (1277-1283), it was the site of much bloodshed and anguish. And it was here that English governance over Wales was eventually established in 1284. The many centuries that have since elapsed aside, it’s Rhuddlan’s tactical location that is largely responsible for the building’s current state. It was attacked in the Welsh Rising of 1294, and again in the Glyndwr rising of 1400. Then badly damaged in 1646, as part of the English Civil War. When it fell into Royalist hands two years later, it was partially demolished to stop it being reclaimed and strategically used once more. Little did they know that 370 years later the castle would be going to war for a final time.
Rhuddlan Castle’s War Against Waste Plastic
During the course of the last year, like many other responsible organisations, the Welsh Assembly has been working to reduce waste plastic. With seemingly endless stories of ‘islands of plastic waste’ floating in the world’s oceans – one three-times the size of France – the Assembly realised that it was time to take action. Each department was given targets to work towards. And one of those departments was Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service.
Responsible for more than 100 sites of historic interest across the country (including Rhuddlan), Cadw decided that the best way for them to tackle the plastic problem would be to encourage a refill culture amongst their visitors. MIW heard the battle cry and moved into action.
The Rhuddlan Refill Station
Being enormously popular with tourists, Rhuddlan was among the first 10 Cadw sites to be selected for a drinking fountain/bottle filler installation. So it was that at the end of 2018, we found ourselves working in the castle’s impressive grounds.
The new Halsey Taylor 4405BF selected for the site has been chosen not just for its ability to cater for a large number of users, but for its quality and durability. As you might expect, the unit delivers clean, fresh drinking water at the touch of a button. But it has other stellar qualities. For one, it’s been WRAS-approved, so it’s absolutely safe and has been tested within an inch of its life from every conceivable angle. It’s weather-proof, so its position outside the visitor centre will pose no problems whatsoever. And it’s vandal-proof, so it will last well into the future, regardless of who’s using (or abusing) it.
The whole point of installing a bottle filling station with inbuilt drinking fountain at Rhuddlan Castle – and all Cadw’s other selected sites – is to reduce the need for visitors to buy bottled water. Single-use plastic bottles are among the biggest polluters. If we can all reduce the number of bottles we buy – and discard – the impact upon the environment could be tremendous. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you’re making a real difference, by just changing the types of bottles you use? And who wants to pay for water, when it’s available for free, on tap?
So why not take this as a call-to-arms, from Cadw, MIW, and of course, Rhuddlan? And the next time that you’re feeling touristy, take along a refillable bottle, and save your pennies for the gift shop.