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Record-breaking year for the Royal Welsh Show

It's been a record-breaking year for the Royal Welsh Show. Credit: ITV News

This year's Royal Welsh Show has set a new attendance record, with 241,971 people so far visiting the showground in Llanelwedd.

The previous record was 241,781 in 2013, marked by sunshine and Prince Charles' visit just days after Prince George was born.

This year's show has seen some showers, but they haven't kept the crowds away. 72,478 people come to see the famous cobs and more on Wednesday setting a new record for the busiest single day.

Prime Minister David Cameron was among 51,951 visitors who had come through the gates by 2pm today. With that total set to rise by the time the show draws to close tonight, the final total is due to pass 242,000 for the first time.


Cameron takes in the animal pens at Royal Welsh Show

David Cameron toured the animal pens with Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb. Credit: ITV News/Adrian Masters

Prime Minister David Cameron is paying a visit to the Royal Welsh Show today.

He'll be touring the stands, meeting showgoers and visiting some of the animal pens.

Earlier he announced the creation of 250 new jobs at General Dynamics in Merthyr Tydfil.

Read more on that story here.

Fossil forest gets national recognition and protection

A fossil forest in Brymbo, near Wrexham, which pre-dates dinosaurs, has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest by Natural Resources Wales.

Fossilised bark from Brymbo. Credit: Peter Appleton

The site covers an area nearly half the size of a football pitch and contains a variety of 300 million year old fossilised plants and trees.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) says it is a world class site for plant fossils.

They are the remains of plants which grew in hot, humid conditions near the equator - and include 20 fossilised giant clubmosses that look like massive tree stumps.

The fossils were first revealed in 2004 on the former iron and steel works site in Brymbo. Much of the fossil forest remains buried for its own protection.

NRW says plans are underway, led by Brymbo Heritage Group, to establish an excavation and visitor centre on the site that will ensure the right conditions to study and display the fragile fossils.

Fossilised fern. Credit: Peter Appleton

The SSSI designation will help safeguard the fossil forest into the future as a superb scientific and educational resource.

Fossils have a wide appeal and this site, developed with the right expertise and care, has the potential to be a popular tourist attraction, contributing to the local economy of this area.

– Raymond Roberts, NRW geologist

There is an extraordinary story of tell at this site, linking the geological history with Brymbo’s industrial heritage.

Our aim is to secure funding in time to open the excavation and visitor centre in the summer of 2018

– Gary Brown, Brymbo Heritage Group

In the meantime, Brymbo Heritage Group organises guided tours, open days and community digs for people to see the fossil forest and industrial heritage.

Some of the best and rarest fossils have been removed and are being conserved in the National Museum of Wales. They will be returned to Brymbo for public display, once a suitable building is ready.

It is illegal to remove fossils or damage a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Abergele shepherd wins long service award at Royal Welsh Show

A shepherd from Abergele has been given a long service award for spending forty years tending sheep.

Bryn Roberts has been tending sheep for 40 years Credit: ITV Wales

Bryn Roberts looks after some 1000 livestock on a local estate, which also happens to be the place where he's accrued each and every one of his 40 years experience.

"My father was a farmer, my Grandad was a shepherd many years ago...the best thing about the job is the freedom, the quietness up here, it's lovely"

– Bryn Roberts

Bryn was nominated for the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society's Long Service Award by Estate owner Harry Featherstone-Haugh.

"He's managed to survive forty years being here - it's only right that he should be recognised as being a star shepherd, which you know he has been for all that length of time"

– Bryn Roberts

Bryn collected the award on Tuesday afternoon, surrounded by family and colleagues. He plans to spend another two years shepherding on the hills, before enjoying his retirement.

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