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National Botanic Garden of Wales celebrates £6m investment

A grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund announced on the 1st March signalling the exciting launch of the construction phase of a £7.2 million project to restore the legendary landscape of one of the finest Regency waterparks in Britain.

Baroness Kay Andrews, UK Trustee and Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales, said: “Once completed, this exciting project will confirm the Botanic Garden’s place at the top of everyone’s to-do list. It will make not only an amazing day out for families and people of all ages and a must-see for those outside Wales and even further afield."

The original owners of the estate where the Garden now stands,  the Middleton family, began to lay out formal gardens from the late 16th century using wealth gained from procuring spices, herbs and other goods as founders of the East India Company in the early 1600s. It was not until the estate was bought by MP for Carmarthen, Sir William Paxton, in 1789 that the grounds came into their own.

Protegé of world-famous landscape architect, Capability Brown, Samuel Lapidge was commissioned to design the landscape and gardens to include an innovative water park with water flowing around the estate linked by a network of dams, sluices, bridges and cascades. 

It is these ground-breaking water features that will be brought back to life for modern day visitors to enjoy.

Director of The National Botanic Garden of Wales, Huw Francis said: “Spring has certainly sprung here at the Garden, with this fantastic news chiming in a fresh season and a fresh chapter in our history too.

“Since we opened in 2000, we have always wanted to celebrate not only our horticulture but also our heritage.

“The main house was destroyed decades ago through fire but the impressive grounds have left plenty of traces in the form of drained or silted lakes and overgrown paths. This funding will mean we no longer have to imagine what the estate might have looked like - we can now recreate it for our modern day visitors to experience first-hand. It will be spectacular.”

Mr Francis added that the restoration work will happen alongside an exciting programme of activities and events providing a range of opportunities for people to get involved.

Photo: Colin Baglow

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