New funding for Bishop's 'secret' garden
More people than ever will soon be able to get stuck in to learning and growing at the recently transformed Parc yr Esgob – Bishop’s Park, Abergwili, Carmarthenshire. The Tywi Gateway Trust, a tiny community-led charity, is now one step closer to completing the final piece of the jigsaw at the park, with the restoration of a ‘secret’ garden which once grew fruit and vegetables for the table of the Bishops of St Davids.
The Trust has been awarded more than £203,000 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of development phase funding for the restoration of Parc yr Esgob walled kitchen garden. Parc yr Esgob Walled Garden Project has also received £137,127 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund as part of Carmarthenshire County Council’s Sustainable Communities Fund.
The former grounds of the Palace of the Bishops of St Davids, now home to the Carmarthenshire Museum, have been a place of growing, learning and enjoyment for over 800 years. The Tywi Gateway Trust took over the management of the park from Carmarthenshire County Council, and the walled garden from the Representative Body of the Church in Wales, in 2018. This nationally important historic park and garden has since undergone a major transformational restoration programme completed in 2022, since when it has received both the Green Flag and Heritage Flag Awards for the quality of the site, its management and the visitor experience.
As part of this initial 12-month development phase, the Tywi Gateway Trust will be working with local groups and organisations putting together detailed plans for the restoration of three historic glass houses, the creation of a fully accessible educational garden and a performance space amongst the heritage fruit trees within the garden.
"We are absolutely delighted to have received these awards from them to help us complete the last piece of the jigsaw," project manager Louise Austin said. "These awards will help to secure not just the restoration of the walled garden but will help to ensure that the whole park is sustainable into the future as a wonderful community resource for everyone to enjoy.”