Bodnant Garden is slowly giving up its secrets as the gates open to areas which have, until now, been closed to the public.
From July 1 the Old Park will open to visitors who can enjoy a stroll through this picturesque meadow brimming with wildflowers and mature native trees. Work is underway to open other parts of the Garden in the near future too.
Bill Warrell, area supervisor at Bodnant Garden, says: “The Old Park has a very different and special character compared to other areas of the Garden and we are delighted to be opening it for the first time.”
The Old Park is the oldest area of Bodnant Garden. It was landscaped when the original house was built in the 1700s in the naturalistic style of the day, with a ha-ha (a ditch) to keep sheep and cows away from the mansion. It has remained unchanged over the years as the rest of the Garden has evolved.
The area has always been visible from the public garden, offering visitors views of swathes daffodils in spring, wildflowers in summer, leaf colour in autumn and snowdrops in winter. However from next week people can enjoy it close up.
Visitors will be able see the work being done to preserve the area’s wildlife. When surveyed in 2010, the meadow contained 23 species of grasses and wildflowers. It will be cut in August, the hay removed to keep soil fertility low, which encourages wildflowers to grow, then grazed in the autumn.
Bill says: “Visitors will now have the chance to spot some of the 23 varieties of flowers and grasses present, as well as butterflies, day-flying moths and bees. We hope that the public will also enjoy the new views of the house, garden and Snowdonia, whilst strolling through gently swaying grassland.”
Next year we will be opening another part of the Garden which has been closed to the public. The Yew Dell at the far south of the garden is a tranquil wooded area planted with rhododendrons, reminiscent of a Himalayan valley. Visitors will be able to get a sneak preview of the Yew Dell over the summer in a series of special walks. Following this, in 2015, there are plans to open the area known as the Skating Pond at the far end of The Dell.