GARDENS & GROUNDS
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE GARDENS ARE NOT OPEN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC, ONLY TO RESIDENTS AND GUESTS ON THE SITE. WE DO HAVE OPEN DAYS WHEN THE GARDENS ARE OPEN.
The gardens around the house are extensive, 45 acres, and include a wide range of habitats, from lawns to woodlands, ornamental to wild areas. The adjacent landscape and garden is listed as Grade 2*. The gardens are bisected by the River Usk which forms a natural divide from the south and north garden, and as it flows through it creates its own habitats of natural beauty.
The earliest recording of the garden is a map from 1738, showing a formal garden with clipped Yew hedges extending to the east of the house. In the mid 1700's the garden was redesigned, influenced by the pastoral designs of Repton and Brown, and it is this base of the landscape that still survives today.
Withy's plan of the formal gardens. 1738
The Garden is listed with the Welsh Historic Garden Trust: http://www.gardensofwales.org.uk . A very good historical report on the development of the gardens and Parkland was published in the Trusts journal ‘GERDDI' by Jonathan Williams. Vol.5 2008-2009. Available from the Trust.
ELEPHANTS AND ART
Our Elephant hedge became the subject of National interest in 2009, appearing in a number of national papers and on TV. As the gardens continue to develop, more art and sculpture are incorporated into the landscape. This is celebrated biennially when we host an Art and Sculpture exhibition in the grounds. Parclife in 2007 was a highly successful event, and State of the Estate followed in October 2009, and in 2011 we hosted The Festival of Colour, a celebration of Tribal textiles and autumnal colour.
Trees have played an important part in Penpont history; there was reputably the oldest Larch tree in the country growing in the grounds.Sadly this was claimed by the winds in February 2011. Many other fine specimens can be found in the gardens, and with the introduction of new specimen trees we intend to establish an Arboretum over the next decade.
It is reputed,via local belief, that an oak beam cut from the Penpont Estate,was sent to London in the 1850's, and forms part of the oak frame work that became integral in the hanging of Big Ben in the Houses of Parliament.
We have continued this legacy today by continuing to plant trees within the gardens & parkland and to date we have planted in excess of 70,000 trees since we arrived.
THE WALLED GARDENS
Penpont's walled gardens were first built in 1794. Today a wide range of vegetables, fruit and cut flowers are grown within its two sheltered acres. We have been certified organic by the Soil Association for eight years and sell all our produce within seven miles of the estate. The produce is also sold through our farm shop in the old dairy as well as to local restaurants and caterers.
The gardens operate an eight year rotation and aim to balance aesthetics with sustainability and productivity. Green manure crops are grown to provide fertility and condition the deep sandy soil.
The unit is managed by Richard Brown, who is a passionate grower, and he welcomes visitors to the walled gardens. For several years we were a demonstration garden for Organic Centre Wales, hosting a program of courses.
THE GREEN MAN MAZE
To celebrate the new millennium we commissioned a local artist, David Eveleigh, to construct a maze in the shape of The Green Man. It is the largest image of this significant pagan symbol in the world.
Designed over an underlying grid of sacred geometry it will take you on a journey along its beech and yew lined paths, passing pools, secret gardens, banks of scented lavender, sculptured benches, tunnels, an inner labyrinth and onwards... after many turns you discover the wishing stone in a wild flower garden... a maze fit for fairies to dream in.
David also choreographs spectacular firework displays: www.goffee.co.uk