Misplaced Trust

Retirement remains the ambition. That said, this post is produced in the hope of drawing attention to developments in one locality that may link with wider, national concerns.


Today’s piece took wing with the article you see below. It appeared in last Thursday’s Daily Post. A strange piece in a number of ways; not least because the more I read it the less sure I was of what it was trying to say.

One thing’s for sure – it has little to do with slate landscapes.

Image 1: Click to open enlarged in separate tab

To begin with, the article tells us that the land in question ‘lies south of Conwy’. Which indeed it does; but the same could be said of Cape Town. Actually, it’s quite a way from Conwy, but just a few miles east of Blaenau Ffestiniog. So why use Conwy as a reference point?

The proximity to Blaenau is evidenced by the fact that the land we’ll be looking at contains a few old slate quarry workings. Which gave the writer the excuse to tell us that back in the industry’s heyday, ‘Wales was known as “the place that roofed the world”‘. ‘The place’!

Then, there’s the ownership. The opening paragraph talks of the land ‘being brought into the care of National Trust Cymru’. Does that mean the NT has bought the land? Is it merely looking after the land?

Finally, another possible cause of confusion are the references to ‘Y Foel’. The area we’re looking for is actually, and variously, called, ‘Foel Marchyrau’, ‘Foel Marcherau’, or even – according to the Land Registry – ‘Moel Marchyria’. Whatever you choose to call it, this area lies not far from the hamlet of Cwm Penmachno.

So who wrote the piece?

Well, it wasn’t anyone at the Daily Post. The article came from the National Trust’s website. Here’s the link. It’s a sad indictment of our media when a full-page news story turns out to be a copy and paste job.


I suppose my interest was piqued when I read, in paragraph 5: ‘It is estimated that the site could lock up over 350,000 tonnes of carbon once restored, the equivalent of taking almost 80,000 cars off the road for a year’.

I know carbon capture is all the rage in Wales at the moment but why would someone at the National Trust go to the trouble of making that calculation?

I also read . . .

Image 2: Click to open enlarged in separate tab

This mention of the ‘Ysbyty Estate‘ reminds us that the National Trust is a major landowner in Wales. This sizeable chunk of our country was passed to the Trust in 1951 by the Treasury, which had received it in lieu of death duties.

(What a metaphor for Wales’ relationship with England.)

Don’t mention ‘Penrhyn’ to the Wokies! Click to open enlarged in separate tab

In the hope of getting a clearer picture of what is planned for these 1,600 acres I e-mailed the National Trust and Natural Resources Wales. Both were helpful.

From the National Trust I learnt that it will be working with Natural Resources Wales, the RSPB, the Snowdonia National Park, locals and busybody retirees, to ‘restore’ Y Foel to a more eco-friendly habitat.

But this will not be done at the expense of farming. For we read in the piece we started with that the land ‘will continue to be grazed by sheep and cattle’.

In its response, Natural Resources Wales wrote:

‘We are committed to carrying on the good work and are in regular discussions with National Trust regarding . . . the Cwm Penmachno area. These opportunities have been enhanced now Natural (sic) Trust have purchased y Foel which surrounds a forest block we manage on behalf of Welsh Government.’


So from Natural Resources Wales we learn that the National Trust has bought Y Foel. And the NT then confirmed it with: ‘The Trust has acquired farmland called Foel from the late Miss O.M. Williams, Freehold.’

Later, in the same message, the NT employee wrote: ‘We will also reduce sheep numbers significantly which will allow trees to regenerate naturally across the ffridd and mountain’.

But wait! The piece in the Daily Post said the land, ‘will continue to be grazed by sheep and cattle’, there was no mention of numbers being ‘significantly’ reduced.

To understand the background to, or the justification for, what’s being done in the Cwm Penmachno area, this video below might help.

In a nutshell, drainage ditches cut into peat deposits have lessened the amount of rainwater the peat can retain. With the problem exacerbated by embankments built by farmers to protect their land and livestock from flooding.

These combine to interfere with natural flooding and send more water down Afon Conwy to afflict communities like Llanrwst.

There can be little argument with saving Llanrwst and other communities from flooding.

But when terms like ‘climate change’ and ‘climate crisis’ are introduced, and used in conjunction with the promise of less grazing, and this comes with talk of carbon capture, then I think we need to be alert.

Image 3: From the National Trust website. Does it refer to a very localised ‘climate crisis’? Click to open enlarged in separate tab

The report in the Shropshire Star – a daily newspaper that circulates widely in central Wales (though of course the jobs and the money stay in Shrewsbury) – certainly gave prominence to the climate change / carbon capture aspects of the story.

Though to judge by the photographs used by the Star they were more confused than me as to the location of ‘Y Foel’. But take my word for it, boys and girls – it definitely doesn’t overlook the Dyfi estuary.

Image 4: Click to open enlarged in separate tab

One more thing, Shropshire Star; the highest mountain in Belgium and Wales is not called ‘Mount Snowdon’. Ever.


Let’s go back to the ownership of Y Foel. It seems the National Trust bought the property following the death of Miss Olwen Mai Williams in April, 2018. Described in her obituary as the last of the Foel Marcherau family.

Though according to the Land Registry Miss Williams is still the owner of two tiles bearing that name.

Image 5: Ordnance Survey. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

The first is for, ‘Foel Machyrau’. Scroll down to the plan and you’ll see that this title appears to cover the farmhouse, outbuildings and land nearby. The neighbour to the north east is Carrog, mentioned in Image 2, and belonging to the National Trust.

Even though it’s claimed Carrog is a working farm it’s clearly undergoing – in addition to the water works – a kind of carbon capture makeover as well, with the planting of thousands of trees and hedging plants.

The second Foel title is for, ‘Land lying to the south of Foel Marcherau’. Comparing the OS map on the left with the Land Registry plan on the right, you’ll see that it makes an obvious extension to the existing woodland managed by Natural Resources Wales.

Image 6: Click to open enlarged in separate tab

But then I uncovered a third Land Registry title for ‘Land at Foel Marcherau’. (Unfortunately there’s no plan available.) I have redacted the owners’ names, but both are Williams; one lives in Carmarthenshire, the other in the West Midlands.

Putting it all together the cynic in me thinks, ‘Well, if flooding in Llanrwst is caused by peat loss and levees upstream, then dealing with those issues will solve the problem?’

The fact that so much more is planned leads to me to suspect that this extra work, additional to peat restoration and embankment removal, serves a wider agenda.

I mean, is re-forestation an activity we normally associate with the National Trust? Then, there’s the close co-operation between Natural Resources Wales and the National Trust. Almost a partnership.

Among other things, Natural Resources Wales looks after the public forestry estate, and is (nominally, at least) answerable to the ‘Welsh Government’. Yet Corruption Bay has no control at all over the National Trust.

Suspicions that carbon capture for profit is the motive, with ‘drying peatlands’ the excuse, come from elsewhere in Wales. I’m thinking now of Abergwesyn, where farmers, or more accurately, their sheep, are again being blamed.

The article I’ve linked to says that farmers and commoners are being consulted all the way, but local sources say they’re being ignored, as ‘Welsh Government’ pushes through its carbon capture plans at the expense of another Welsh community.

No matter how it’s portrayed, what we see at Cwm Penmachno, Abergwesyn and elsewhere seems to be the National Trust muscling in on the carbon capture racket.


I have never been happy with the National Trust owning so much of Wales. It’s currently 50,000 hectares, with the size of the NT estate growing year on year.

Yet there’s nothing Welsh about the Trust. Adding ‘Cymru’ can’t hide how alien it is, and how Wales is viewed as little more than a region . . . of England, presumably. It’s just window dressing. Done to please the easily pleased.

There is only the National Trust, with income of £508,000,000 a year. Its remit: ‘To look after places of historic interest or natural beauty permanently for the benefit of the nation across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.’

So we’re one nation!

It should go without saying that Scotland has its own National Trust, a separate body. Registered in Scotland (SC007410).

Image 7: Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Just a few miles to the north of Cwm Penmachno is Tŷ Mawr, Wybrnant, home to Bishop William Morgan, who, in the late sixteenth century, translated the Bible into Welsh.

It would be difficult to over-estimate how important his work was to standardising and safeguarding the Welsh language. To proving that the Welsh language was no crude patois. And to confirming our status as a nation.

But Tŷ Mawr is owned by the National Trust. The same National Trust that believes we are not a nation. Let’s be honest here – the National Trust in Wales is just fleece jacket colonialism.

The English National Trust should have been replaced with a Welsh body soon after we entered the era of devolution. But devolution has been a disappointment in so many ways. Especially for us Welsh.


Let’s consider the options available to Welsh voters. Then you’ll understandable why the National Trust and other ineffably English organisations can so easily exploit Wales.

Unionists, especially those of the Right, will never object to England owning Wales; be it on an individual level, a corporate level, or of course, the national level.

Their commitment to Wales is entirely superficial. And conditional upon Wales being part of the Union. A Union that benefits only England.

On the Left, both Unionists and those claiming to want independence, reject the working class – the greater part of the nation – in order to impose ‘diversity’, support a parasitic third sector, and cheer a ‘Welsh Government’ throwing money at Stonewall.

These are now wedded to passing fancies that demand they engage in combat with ‘fascists’, ‘racists’, ‘climate deniers’, ‘transphobes’, ‘terfs’, and other figments of their easily-manipulated imaginations.

Yet this bizarre alliance, supporters of colonialism on the one hand and wokie clowns on the other, fight over ‘Welsh Government’ policy. To the detriment of the Welsh people.

Conclusion: There is only one way to escape this nightmare.

♦ end ♦


© Royston Jones 2022

34 thoughts on “Misplaced Trust

    1. Dafis

      Are you suggesting that Will the Duke is hung like a donkey ? or that he is stubborn/stupid as donkeys are alleged to be ? or both ? Interesting piece of genetic research there possibly.

  1. David Smith

    This is off topic but I can’t find the article in question. I recall you once saying, “Brexit is fundamentally English nationalism”. Am I on the money with it being less of the Billy Bragg kind and more of the ‘Britain is Greater England’, supremacist, sort of flavour? In other words, the ‘Britishness’ so keenly described by Gwynfor?

  2. I don’t have to explain it, I’ll just ask you readers to answer this “Is Wales’ Environment now being run by Brighton Politicians instead of Welsh Politicians and the Senedd and Lesley Griffiths AS?”.

  3. Dafis

    Amazed, not amused, by much of today’s hot air output regarding energy prices and the related surge in costs of living as the energy price leap knocks on into food prices and other essentials. No one of any significance has stood up and shouted long and hard that a worthwhile gesture would be the complete and utter removal of the green levy. This would have a dramatic immediate effect on prices but of course it would choke off a key component of income for the Government’s blue eyed boys and girls in the renewables sector. The fact is most of those fuckers don’t need propping up. If they started working efficiently instead of sucking the teats of the public sow and tailored their salaries and benefits to reflect their true worth they would be profitable. But why work smart and efficiently when there’s an ample supply of government loot in the pipeline ?

  4. What’s worse, toffs like Penrhyn or that one who snuffed it quite recently owning so much of our country, or the ‘National’ [sic] Trust? Or is that a question redundant to ask as which leg/parent/child one would rather lose?

  5. Borderdweller

    Being pedantic, you state the money and jobs from the Shropshire Star stay in Shrewsbury, I’m afraid like all local journalism there’s very few jobs and not much money, the bulk of the jobs are in Wolverhampton, there’s no local S Star offices and no real journalism in Shropshire, it’s not just a Welsh issue of press releases being reproduced verbatim, it’s an issue of the public not valuing news and accountability, we desperately need local investigative, cynical, questioning journalists (yes like you Jac)

  6. Brychan

    They are lying in the video about an ’embankment by the river put there by farmers’. It wasn’t. The channel was for water driven machinery for the state finishing, but they have already eradicated this heritage from even a mention.

    All these ‘initiatives’ by NT are justified by their claim to alleviate flooding at Llanrwst, but the Penmachno catchment is only one of the three major rivers that join at Betws y Coed. The Conwy branch which flows from Llyn Conwy, through Penmachno is fed from a huge upland peat bog, Migneint, which acts as a huge sponge, making this branch of Afon Conwy the least susceptible to rainfall surges.

    It is the other two tributaries that are most prone to surge.
    I suspect a FoI request to NRW will confirm this.

    Firstly, we have the Afon Ledr, from Dolwyddelan which has a catchment of Yr Arddu, Llynau Diwaunydd and Cwm Penmaenan, all of which have been subject to clear felling by NRW in recent years. This is where the majority of the Llanrwst surge comes from.

    Secondly, we have the Afon Llugwy down from Capel Curig, which is fed significantly from the southern Carneddau. The leets which capture water and divert flow into Llyn Cowlyd have not been maintained so all this water now flows into the Llugwy. Rather bizarrely the National Park Authority and now installing concreate paths for tourists, connecting Capel Curig to Crafnant, slicing into the upland bog, prompting further surges.

    I do not believe the National Trust has the best interests of Penmachno at heart, and they are being disingenuous. It just happens to be a village of unaffordable but quaint slateworkers cottages which they intend to acquire and convert to some kind of tourist attraction a kind of Centre Park in the hills. Don’t trust these bastards.

    1. Excellent digging, Brychan. Looking at the map I can see it makes sense. And of course they’re not going to mention the clear felling by NRW.

      1. Dafis

        That bit of digging into information by Brychan exposes the sheer duplicity of the NT and NRW and their selective use of information. If they are not duplicious they are unbelievably thick as there is so much information now available about the effects of the destruction of upland bogs, woodlands and flood meadows on downstream events.

        I read some coverage the other day of a report into the devastating floods in the Rhondda. There was much talk about flood prevention projects by engaging in civils to improve water courses, drains etc but at no point did the report mention the knock on effects of sticking all those turbines up on Pen y Cymoedd. Just a lot of blah blah about climate change.

        1. Their lies will eventually catch up with them. They may be already be catching up. Someone’s been in touch who must live near Abergwesyn, to tell me ‘afforestation’ will take place without any consultation with the locals and the commoners. Despite what has been said. This got a brief mention on the post.

          This guy came back late last night with further information. I’m told that in his Radio Wales interview on Sunday Lee Waters said that no afforestation project takes place without an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). According to NRW itself, such requests are never asked for. Scroll down.

          1. Dafis

            Clicked on that NRW link and scrolled down. Picked at random Tilhill, never heard of them before, website tells me they are “big into timber” but ominously on their home page there is a link to “Carbon Store” which is a service they provide to all those corporate shysters who want to duck the real issues with Carbon(if they really exist!)

            How about this for a load of old flannel –

            ” We unite landowners and environmentally conscious organisations to help offset their carbon emissions by creating new woodlands and restoring degraded peatlands right across the UK. An end-to-end service that absorbs CO₂, helps protect our environment and enhances our countryside.”

            That’s just one of a number of names on that NRW list that crop up repeatedly. Must be scam of the century and we have politicians tripping over each other to authorise such payments.

          2. Brychan

            It wouldn’t make any difference anyway.

            Assessment of concerns raised in an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in Wales as provided by the Environmental Impact Assessment (Forestry) Regulations, is decided by Natural Resources Wales (NRW). The organisation who makes an application for such a forestry venture, the landowner, in much of the inherited governmental estates is also Natural Resorces Wales (NRW).

            So what would happen is there are two clerks sat in NRW building Ty Cambria in Cardiff, and they shout across the open plan office asking if there may be a forest, to give themselves the go-ahead. They mark their own homework.

            Prior to NRW being set up as a conglomerate of three organisations, some expert in the Environment Agency or Countryside Council for Wales would have to analyse a project impact and submit their findings, objections, or modifications to the Forest Commission or their agents. This no longer happens.

            Obviously, native farmers still have to go through the EIA hoop before they can apply for any grant, and wait for an answer from NRW, but this would involve removing themselves from any pre-existing agricultural scheme such as Tir Cynnal or Tir Glas. Financilly impossible unless you’re a venture capital outfit headquartered in the Shard building in London.

            It wouldn’t be the first time that Lee Waters has talked bull on the BBC.

            1. Let’s be fair to the man! Lee Waters doesn’t have to be on the BBC to talk bullshit. It happens wherever he opens his mouth.

            2. Dafis

              Brychan check out Jac’s tweet featuring a Tilhill ad for an investment opportunity in the Rhandirmwyn area.This a good example of the sort of development they are peddling with active connivance of the Bay regime , it’s agencies and little helpers

  7. I must admit that I have been a member of the National Trust for years. The reason is we rarely holiday outside the British Isles and normally have two modestly priced holidays a year in Cymru or Scotland or England (and also the Irish Republic – not Northern Ireland). Our National Trust membership allows us entry to all NT properties in Cymru and England and by reciprocation into Scottish NT places. Inevitably most of our holidays are marred by bad wet British weather, whichever month we go. So on wet days we always head for a large interesting old NT House whatever its shameful gory exploitive history it has from its Barons and Lords etc. as an escape from getting soaked. One of the worst places we have ever been to as regards access is sadly Tŷ Mawr, Wybrnant the home of Bishop Morgan who translated the bible into Cymraeg. The access is terrible. It only needs a few more decent vehicle passing places. It is such an icon in our history and it seems the NT does not care that we cannot get to it. To me it is top of the list compared to Penrhyn Castle. The NT should get us a proper access to Tŷ Mawr, Wybrnant.

    1. Don’t worry, I’m sure there are plans to have a few glamping pods at Ty Mawr. Then the NT will improve the access.

    1. The problems downstream – according to both NT and NRW – were being caused by drainage channels cut into peat and river embankments built up to stop flooding. Tackle those and the problem would be resolved. This would be the case irrespective of the state of the global climate.

      But when NT and NRW talk of ‘climate crisis’, removing sheep, and planting trees, then there is clearly a wider agenda.

      1. Dafis

        If big government and big business have decided to clear the countryside by engineering the steady migration of natives in search of work into urbanised areas, that enables their vision of “rural retreats” being available for those who can afford them, no subsidising homes for lower class people, and repurposing of agriculture and the rural environment to meet those more noble aims of saving the world. Neat trick, which they will pull off if ordinary folks don’t snap out of their slumber.

        1. But that is the plan. It’s a scam all the way, with hidden agendas. Nowhere is it exposed more clearly than with the talk of ‘rewilding’.

          I’ve seen a number of documentaries about Chernobyl, how Nature has reclaimed the whole area since the people moved out. That, to me, is genuine, authentic, and natural, rewilding. It’s what would happen if the human race was to die out or be killed off.

          But what the enviroshysters want to impose is Nature on their terms, with them deciding what species should be present and which species should not. With totally unnatural introductions like konik horses from Poland because these strangers seem to be unaware of native Welsh breeds. And of course the rejection of indigenous species seems to extend to Welsh people.

          just a glorified safari park with plenty of non-jobs for them paid for by someone else, too often the public purse.

  8. Frennifawr

    You might want to have a look at another group intent on pushing Welsh farmers and their families off the land – Rewilding Preseli. Mostly English immigrants, bored suburban retirees, Lammas dropouts and a few quisling Welsh pushing their grubby agenda. One of them is your old pal Tao Winbush [aka Paul] The Preseli hills have been saved once in 1947 from occupation by the English Army. Another fight on the horizon.

  9. Sian Caiach

    As someone who has spent the last 20 years planting trees on agricultural land in Wales this is codswallop. Especially the news that cutting sheep numbers will allow trees to grow. Not entirely a big fib as the occasional native tree does naturally grow on sheep pasture , usually protected by a huge bramble bush which keeps the little darlings off. Otherwise you have to securely fence the trees off. Welsh Mountain sheep have little regard for the rabbit guards put around the cute saplings which they clearly regard only as food. Personally I have used 4 foot high stock wire on posts topped with barb wire. These plans are impractical, just mood music for carbon credits. Will anyone check that the trees actually survive and grow?

    1. Brychan

      Yes, Sian.

      Not only that, the Welsh Government are ignoring their own scientific expertise, and have downgraded the status of scientists within NRW in favour of ‘tourism consultants’ and ‘woodland economists’. The starkest example of why they are wrong is a 70yr study they inherited of the Nant Francon and Cwm Idwal. My curiosity was prompted on a recent cycle ride up the old road of Nant Francon with an old friend. We were confronted with some cows. Cows!! Specimens which wouldn’t look out of place in deepest Carmarthenshire. It made sense when you look at the ancient names of some of the farms, but I mistakenly thought that was sheep country. Got chatting to a local shepherd, some new charge is of the bovine variety.

      The whole area became a National Park in the 1950s, more specifically the top of the valley became a Nature Reserve. Previous husbandry was mixed. It only became sheep country in the 1960s and 1970s, with headage subsidies. What was the first ever ‘rewilding experiment’ was conducted in Cwm Idwal. Areas fenced off for seasonal grazing, some for no grazing and some patches fenced off planted with upland trees, rowan. hawthorn and stuff. They found that species diversity was at maximum where there was seasonal grazing then subsequently made no grazing, with some margins kept for mixed seasonal grazing. The patches left immediately without grazing became monograsses, and the tree planted patches became barren except for the species planted. The farms inhabited lower in the valley actually became more sustainable, a mixture of migratory sheep and also some hardy beef cattle.

      Promote these guys, not import idiots.

      This actually gives us a roadmap for all of upland Wales. Just cancelling all grazing immediately does not work, it has to be a phased approach with diversity of stock, mixed grazing, also just planting trees is actually the worst thing to do, this displaces farmers (the best land managers) but also replaces one struggling monoculture with another. I think we can also assume the arctic char in Llyn Idwal will testify, hence the video link. Mixed livestock, patches of no grazing and patches of controlled grazing. Best of both worlds, but don’t tell the Welsh Government, they lock away the science, and appoint ignorant bosses from across the border.

  10. Dafis

    Good article casting light into yet more dark corners. Nothing in there that really surprises me any more but there again I’m suspicious of any activity by a large scale corporation, institution or public body. These have all been infiltrated by extremists who harbour seriously defective and disturbing views on the ecology/environment and propose equally daft and unbalanced ideas on how those alleged problems can be resolved. Of course they find kindred spirits among the ranks of the Senedd and their civil servants most of whom enjoy chucking funds at “something new” yet find it inconceivable that agriculture and rural communities have any merit as stable features of the nation’s life and identity.

    Yet another case of some UK institution diverting funds from Welsh government which could have been invested in projects of real benefit to our communities and businesses.

    1. And another Welsh family farm passes into foreign ownership. It really doesn’t matter whether it’s a hedge fund in the Shard or a cuddly outfit like the National Trust. Either something is Welsh owned or it’s not. That’s what matters.

  11. Yann Maenden

    Just a couple of points – if I may.

    I’ve had a look at the NT website and it appears to me that the NT didn’t buy the land, but acquired it in some other way – perhaps as a gift by the deceased, previous owner ? If the NT buys something it is usually quite keen to tell members how the money is being spent, and there’s no mention of this, that I can find, anywhere..

    There is no contradiction between sheep grazing and planting because the NT website specifically says that the current pastureland will be maintained for grazing and planting will be done in other areas. I would assume that at a later stage, when the new trees are mature enough, animals could also be grazed within the woodland without causing unacceptable damage – as is done elsewhere in many parts of the world.

    NT Scotland was founded in 1931 – way before devolution. I think this happened because the NT is a statutory organisation – and Scotland has it’s own legal system.

    Tree planting isn’t necessarily a bad thing, provided the right types of trees are used. I think previous experiments where we saw hillsides blanketed with conifers proved a disastrous mistake – hopefully lessons have been learned.

    Planting trees for carbon capture is just one of those fashionable things. It’s one-eyed science. This is what happens when a tree grows. They then close the other eye and ignore what happens when trees die and rot etc etc. So the math on carbon capture is always incomplete, and never as advantageous as they make out. It’s like all those electric cars that have no emissions – nope – none at all – except at the power stations (which mainly burn gas in the UK).

    How much carbon capture you (supposedly) get is a simple calculation. You just compare your acreage with a known number, so adding it to an article to appear ‘woke’ is an easy task; but probably hopelessly inaccurate, and the ‘benefits’ are not seen for a significant period of time, because trees take a long time to grow. So when it says ” the equivalent of taking almost 80,000 cars off the road for a year’ – it means less than 1000 cars a year for 80 years.

    1. You raise an interesting point on ownership, which I was reluctant to tackle, a) because the situation wasn’t exactly clear to me and b) NRW stated that NT had bought the land. Having thought more about it I suspect the NT had a pre-existing interest in some of the property, and bought another part.

      Two of the titles, including the one for the farm buildings, carry the notice shown below. The third title, for the land shown in Image 6 has no reference to the National Trust. I therefore suspect that this is the land that has been bought. But with the death of Miss Wiliams it has all passed to the National Trust.

      NT link

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